While many dog lovers have never had a close encounter with a bear, they can imagine how scary it might be. Even though you should avoid wild bears at all costs, a loyal dog parent would do anything to protect their dog. Bears can be frightening, but nothing is scarier than your dog being in danger.
For Heather Willobee in Grayling, Michigan, that’s exactly what she did. Her beloved rescue dog, Lucy, encountered a bear in the yard. Willobee knew she had to be brave in order to save her dog’s life.
Facing the Bear
When Willobee came home, she took Lucy outside like she always does. The 8-year-old dog ran out to do her business, but as she returned to the house, Willobee noticed something was wrong. Something big was right behind Lucy.
Willobee watched in horror as her sweet dog got into a fight with a 300-pound black bear. She began calling Lucy over and over again, trying to get her away from the bear right away. Once Lucy was close to the house, Willobee quickly pulled her inside before the bear could continue the fight.
“This is the closest I had ever been to a bear and until then did not realize how enormous their paws and claws really are. With the bear’s front half on my porch, me at the door, and my dog in full protection mode between us, all just feet apart, I continued to tell her to come,” said Willobee.
Once Lucy was inside, Willobee inspected her wounds closely. She had several claw marks on her back, so Willobee called an emergency vet immediately. Before leaving for the vet, she set off her car alarm to scare the bear away. Then, once it was clear that the bear was gone, she rushed Lucy out to the car.
When they got in the car, the bear returned, watching them closely. But instead of freaking out, Willobee just drove off. She wouldn’t let that bear hurt her dog anymore.
Lucy’s time at the vet felt so long because Willobee could not come inside due to the coronavirus. The pup had to go through surgery for her wounds and she will have to have many follow-up appointments, but she is doing well, considering what happened. If Willobee hadn’t jumped in to save her dog, things would’ve been much worse for poor Lucy.
Now, Lucy has returned home and began her road to recovery. Willobee said her recovery will take a long time, but she’s getting better each and every day. She’s eating, drinking, and walking just fine. Overall, Willobee is just so grateful that her dog is still alive and well.
After the bear incident, Willobee concluded that the bird feeders she kept in her backyard are likely what lured the bear to her home. So, she took them all down, cleaned up all the seeds, and put away anything else that could possibly lead a bear back to her house. She had to remove every possible risk to ensure that her dog stayed safe.
She also reached out to her friends on Facebook to warn them of this encounter. In a post about Lucy’s recovery, she advised neighbors to get rid of anything that could potentially be bear food.
“Today I talked to the DNR Officer and unfortunately there’s not much that they can do as long as there are food sources for them, so please take your feeders down, bring your garbage inside, do everything possible to not give them a reason to be around,” wrote Willobee.
Some might think Willobee is crazy for coming so close to a bear, but any devoted dog lover knows they would do the same. Willobee saved Lucy’s life that day. Let’s hope the sweet dog has a quick recovery!
To help with Lucy’s medical costs, please check out her GoFundMe!