A dog owner paid a heartfelt tribute to his elderly dog after it was killed by a bear while protecting his friends.
The dog, Pete, and its owners were walking with a group of other pups in rural New York when they encountered a black bear. The bear likely didn't hear or smell them coming sooner due to weather conditions, but it quickly turned around because it felt threatened by their sudden appearance.
"Pete stepped up and held off the bear until I could get the other dogs to safety," said his owner. "Once I was sure they were safe, I went back and scared the bear off, but Pete was gravely injured."
The owner, with the help of his wife and a friend, were able to recover Pete and bring him to a hospital. He "held on like a real trooper the whole time," but had sustained severe spinal damage that would likely leave him unable to walk. As he was already quite an elderly dog and his chances of even surviving the surgery were slim, his owners had to make the hard choice to let him go.
"Run free Pete, you no longer have all those aches and pains of old age," said the owners in the caption of the photo they posted as a tribute. "You had a great 18 months with us running the days away like you loved."
They added, "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."
Petey's owners run a pet sitting company, and thanked everyone for the support on their business page after Petey's story went viral.
"I want everyone to know that I would trade all of this attention to just have one more day with Pete. I think all of you know how much we love our dogs and all the animals that we care for so please squeeze your furry family tight tonight and give them a big kiss from ‘the lady.'"
Be sure to SHARE this with your family and friends.