What was supposed to be a happy day on the trail quickly turned into a scary situation for a New York dog owner and his pack.
The group was exploring the Appalachian trail earlier this week when they came across a different type of animal enjoying the picturesque wilderness. It was a black bear, and while wild animals in the area rarely interfere with hikers, this bear was startled out of a slumber. The rainy conditions allowed the dogs to accidentally sneak up on the sleeping giant, and the bear was scared into defending itself.
The owner of the dogs didn't waste a second jumping into action, but he wouldn't have been able to save his pack if it wasn't for one of the oldest members of the group. Pete was a 13-and-a-half-year-old Spaniel that the family adopted after fostering.
While the dog's owner was working to get all the other dogs down the trail and toward safety, Pete stayed behind. He stopped to protect his family, and the brave dog's story is now going viral.
Below is an account from my husband of yesterdays pack walk. "Today we lost our brave, old man Pete. The dogs surprised a black bear just off the trail while we were hiking this morning. It must not have heard or smelled us with the pouring rain. It felt threatened and turned around. Pete stepped up and held off the bear until I could get the other dogs to safety. Once I was sure they were safe, I went back and scared the bear off, but Pete was gravely injured. I was able to get him back down to the main trail and, thanks to Cathi and Kate, we were able to get him in a car and to the hospital pretty quickly. He held on like a real trooper the whole time, and he was never alone in his pain. The x-rays revealed some pretty bad spinal damage that would mean he could never walk again, if he survived all the surgeries (not a certain thing at his age). We decided it was best to let him go this afternoon. Run free Pete, you no longer have all those aches and pains of old age. You had a great 18 months with us running the days away like you loved." Please light a candle for Pete and remember that fostering and rescuing a dog can sometimes save you. Senior dogs have so much to give. Love you Petey. Save me some cheese for when we see each other again. ❤️💔❤️
The dog owner's family posted to Instagram to share how in the midst of a scary situation, Pete knew what needed to be done.
"It [the bear] must not have heard us with the pouring rain. It felt threatened and turned around. Pete stepped up and held off the bear until I could get the other dogs to safety."
— Me & My Shadow Pets (@mmspets) February 13, 2018
After ensuring all the other dogs were safely out of the way, Pete's owner quickly headed back into the woods. When he got to the scene, he scared off the bear and found Pete injured on the ground. He managed to get the dog down to the main trail where friends helped get him to an emergency pet hospital.
Getting away from the bear was the first step, but Pete wasn't out of the woods. X-rays showed serious spinal injuries, and even if the vet managed to save the dog's life, it was likely Pete would never walk again. At almost 14 years old, the senior dog's chances of surviving the surgeries and having a good quality of life weren't what his owners wanted.
With heavy hearts, they made the difficult decision to let Pete run freely without pain over the Rainbow Bridge. The senior dog they rescued less than two years ago ended up rescuing them. He sacrificed himself to protect his family, and he's being called a hero across social media. His owners said on Twitter:
"His actions prove that no dog is too old to be abandoned or too lost to be loved."
Rest in Peace, Pete.
Do you know a hero dog like Pete? Let us know in the comments.
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