All summer a mama bear and her four cubs had been sighted periodically around the rural area near Muncy, Pennsylvania. Earlier this month Melinda LeBaron, 51, and her dog, a chihuahua-mix ironically named Bear, took a break to go outside. The dog barked when startled by the appearance of a bear. LeBaron turned to see what had caused Bear to bark and the next thing she knew she was on the ground fighting for her life.

Black Bear
Black Bear

Image via Wikimedia

As she fought the bear it dragged her about 80 yards away -- across her yard and the road and into the cover of a thicket. Part of her clothing was ripped off in the process. The dog valiantly tried to fight off the bear and even bit it numerous times. LeBaron herself kept punching the bear in the snout.

She finally went limp and to bear took an interest in the dog instead. This gave LeBaron a chance to crawl into a bush. From there she threw a stick to distract the bear and then made for home. She called a relative for help. Somehow Bear also made it home and into the house. He was found later under the bed still whimpering with fear.

Chihuahua
Chihuahua

Image via Wikimedia

LeBaron ended up in the hospital in critical condition with cuts, bruises, bites, and broken bones. Despite her serious injuries she credits Bear with saving her life. Bear also suffered serious injury with bite wounds, a broken sternum, and separated ribs.

So what was this bear doing roaming around instead of hibernating? While most bears are hibernating by December a few bears may still be out and about. Different things can affect the hibernation of bears -- to the point that some bears don't really hibernate at all. Hibernation can be affected by the availability of food.

Fortunately, bear attacks are rare. To find out what the National Park Service says about staying safe in bear country, click here.

Sources: WSPA, Penn Live

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