George Murphy, 82, and his wife, Dorothea Taylor, 85, were giving their dogs some fresh air at the Willow Airport on Friday morning when Murphy was attacked by a moose.
Taylor was waiting in their truck — she was avoiding the Alaskan subzero temperatures — while Murphy, a bush pilot, rounded up their golden retrievers, Fellar and Tut.
He saw a moose. The moose saw Murphy.
"He was way off. Jeez, he spotted me and he started to come right after me. So I was trying to get to the truck. But I didn't make it," Murphy told the Anchorage Daily News.
The moose charged, stomping on Murphy.
"I was afraid he was going to tell me," Murphy admitted to the paper.
Taylor, just 5-feet tall and 97 pounds, but with 40 years of hunting experience, heard the barking dogs and left the truck to investigate. When she saw the moose, it turned to charge at her. She grabbed a shovel from the truck and started to attack the animal that had attacked her husband.
"When it turned and started to go off slowly, I hit it with everything I had," she said.
The moose retreated, chased off by one of the dogs. Taylor survived the attacked unharmed, while her husband "is recovering from seven broken ribs and a 6-inch cut on his forehead," TIME NewsFeed reports.
"Well, we've helped each other out of problems before. This just happened to be the latest," Taylor said.
The couple stresses that neither is upset at the moose. In the harsh winter, "they're just at the end of their rope," Murphy said, acknowledging that the cold and deep snow can cause stress and starvation in the large animals.