A black bear attacked a pastor’s pet dog in a Pennsylvania town on Monday. Thanks to quick thinking by that pastor—who called his actions “instinct and stupid courage”—he was able to deliver the dog to safety.
The story comes from Mt. Pleasant Township, Pennsylvania, where the Rev. Tim Stradling, the 56-year-old pastor of Armbrust Wesleyan Church lives with his family and family dog. The dog, named Peyton Manning after the now-retired football star, began barking Monday night about 10pm, according to the Tribune-Review.
Stradling looked out, expecting to see a deer or one of the other animals that happen upon his property from time to time. Instead, he saw a black bear with the 9-year-old Maltese/silky terrier mix in its mouth.
Stradling then snapped into action, aiming to get the bear to drop his dog.
As the Tribune-Review noted, “That started frantic moments of quick decision-making. Stradling tried to look bigger and made loud noises, screaming at the bear to drop the dog, to no avail. He ran toward it at one point and backed away. The bear stood its ground before finally letting go of the dog. But that wasn’t the end — the bear appeared to leave, only to come barreling back when Stradling tried to find Peyton.”
“It was all instinct and stupid courage, but stupid courage was better than no courage,” Stradling told KDKA-TV.
“In the moment, I just couldn’t imagine him being eaten or him being taken into the woods,” he added.
That story relayed that, when the dog was brought to a nearby animal hospital, as Stradling recalled, “I sang ‘Jesus Loves Me’ to my little Peyton Manning, just like I would to one of my own kids because we didn’t know whether he was going to survive.”
The dog did suffer considerable injuries, including bites to the neck and one of its legs. The dog also suffered a fracture and nerve damage in that leg, and had it amputated because of his injuries.
The pastor also had some brush burns on his hand as a result of falling during his interactions with the bear.
While Stradling is relieved that his dog survived, he hopes that the story serves as a cautionary tale, putting other pet owners on alert about how serious black bear sightings can be.