A California dog owner struggled against a 350-pound black bear who attacked his beloved rescue grill by slapping him in the face.
Kaleb Benham, of Grass Valley, Nevada County, was home the day before Thanksgiving when he heard growling outside where Buddy had been playing.
While running to the rescue, he spotted his 90-pound dog trapped in the jaws of a giant black bear that was pulling him by his head from a distance of 75 to 100 feet.
Benham, who adopted the puppy from a shelter a few years ago, didn't hesitate to save his best friend.
"Honestly, the only thing I could think of was 'Save my baby,'" he told CBS Sacramento.
Kaleb Benham adopted Pitbull Buddy from an animal shelter a few years ago and calls him his "baby".
Originally from Sacramento, Benham described how he ran the bear with full force to save his pet.
Then he grabbed the animal, grabbed it by the neck and hit it in the face and eyes until Buddy let it fall out of the jaws.
After miraculously battling the attacker and leaving himself unharmed, he faced a race against time to find a veterinarian who could save the dog from some gruesome injuries.
Buddy suffered deep cuts near his eyes, tooth marks around his head and a stab through his lip.
The rescue pit bull was playing outside Benham's home in Grass Valley, Nevada County, California when the black bear attacked him
The dog sustained multiple injuries from being abused by the bear and required multiple stitches and staples on the head and ears
Buddy underwent more than three hours of surgery at Mother Lode Veterinary Hospital to save him from some of the gruesome injuries caused by the black bear attack
Originally from Sacramento, Benham described how he ran the bear at full force to save his pet
The first vet office Benham tried, which was closest to his house, had closed due to a positive COVID-19 case and he feared he might "lose" it.
But he eventually found the Mother Lode Veterinary Hospital, where Buddy underwent emergency surgery for more than three hours for his injuries, including stitches on his head, staples on ears, and tubes to drain fluids from his head.
"I just stood there and looked through the window for three and a half hours," said Benham.
But Buddy did it and is now recovering quickly.
They spent Thanksgiving day relaxing in bed – and felt very grateful for each other.
Bear attacks on humans
Fatal black bear attacks on humans are rare
Fatal bear attacks on wildlife are rare in North America, causing fewer than 30 deaths every decade.
Brown or grizzly bears, whose habitats extend from Alaska, northern and western Canada, and the Rocky Mountains in the United States, are considered more aggressive than black bears.
Black bear attacks that occur over a larger geographic area are far less common.
They seldom attack when confronted with people and usually limit themselves to doing mock charges, making slapping noises, and hitting the ground with their front paws.
But Buddy's attacker did not disappear and returned to the crime scene several times.
"It attacked and had its food and its food was stolen from it and it wants it back to how I feel," said Benham.
He added that he doesn't know how to encourage the animal to stay away, but he knows he did the right thing to save his dog.
“If it was your child, what would you do? This is my child, I would die for my dog, "he said.
A Go Fund Me has now been launched by Benham's sister Katelyn to raise funds for the significant veterinarian bills and has raised $ 2,278 to date.
Calling for donations, she added, “Buddy is lucky to be alive but has many stitches and staples. Buddy means caleb the world and is his best friend. & # 39;
Black and brown bear attacks on wildlife in North America are extremely rare.
So far, two people have died in Canada as a result of bear attacks in 2020.
In July, 67-year-old Peter Franczak went to pick blueberries near Red Lake, Ontario and did not return.
His body was later found and a black bear was spotted nearby before being shot by police.
A month later, 44-year-old Stephanie Blaise died in an attack outside her family's hut in Saskatchewan, a Canadian province bordering the United States to the south.
Her husband later shot the bear.