When most dogs go missing, their humans usually drive around day and night to find them, but Jason Umbriaco didn’t have that option. He survived a bear attack, but was rushed to the hospital shortly after. During the horrific situation, his Border Collie puppy named Buckley ran off in fear.
Since Umbriaco was unable to leave the hospital to look for Buckley himself, other dog lovers reached out to help. In the end, a kind hospital employee was able to locate the lost pup. It was a miracle for Umbriaco, who is doing much better since the tragic bear attack.
No Match for a Bear
Montana native Umbriaco was hiking in Alaska with 14-week-old Buckley. While they were in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, they encountered a brown bear with her cubs. Umbriaco said that before he could think, the bear charged toward him and bit him on the arm. In a panic, he jumped into the nearby Kenai River, but the bear followed.
“In almost any other circumstance and in probably this circumstance, it was a terrible option, but that was the one I had,” Umbriaco said. “And then she reaches down and then bites me on the shoulder.”
Luckily, the bear ran away after two bites, but Umbriaco was left in immense pain. He tried calling for Buckley, but the dog was nowhere to be seen. So, Umbriaco made his way back to the truck to call for help. The whole time, he had bear spray on him, but it all happened so fast that he hadn’t gotten a chance to use it.
He was rushed to the hospital right away, but he couldn’t stop worrying about his lost pup. In 2008, he suffered from a traumatic brain injury. He said that every dog he’s had since then has helped him cope with it, so it was difficult being separated from his furry friend.
One Magical Facebook Post
At the hospital, Umbriaco told employee Bonnie Nichols about the missing dog. Nichols offered to help, making a Facebook post about Buckley, which was quickly shared to several lost dog groups.
“I said ‘Listen, Alaskans love dogs, so if you can just text me a picture of your dog and a general location, I’ll put it out on Facebook and it’ll be shared,’” Nichols said.
On the same day as the bear attack, a woman named Wendie Wilson spotted Buckley on the hiking trails. His collar must’ve come off during all the commotion, so she assumed he was a stray. She took him with her and cared for him to make sure he stayed healthy. The next day, Wilson saw a post on Facebook about Buckley and knew she had found the lost dog.
Umbriaco is so grateful for all the people who helped bring him and Buckley back together. In the hospital, he began to fear the worst, but now, everything is okay for the duo again. Umbriaco said he still plans to go hiking with the pup, but they will take extra precautions from now on.