Kaleb Benham of Grass Valley, California, spent much of his Thanksgiving lying with his 90-pound pit bull Buddy after getting into a life-or-death fight with a huge, 350-pound bear.
Massive bears are hardly uncommon in Grass Valley, a gold rush-era city in Nevada County, California, situated way up in the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.
Locals in Nevada County are eager to share their stories about black bears making a mess while rummaging through garbage cans, or of close encounter with a lumbering bear while biking through mountain roads. Some locals even have funny stories about bears popping up in the region’s many cannabis farms.
But Benham’s story is far more terrifying than the usual local anecdotes.
Just one day before Thanksgiving, Buddy was playing outside of the house when Bentham heard a tremendous noise. As it turned out, the noise was coming from a massive bear who had confronted Buddy.
“I heard a growl, looked about 75-100 feet down, and the bear was dragging him by his head, had his head in his mouth,” Benham told CBS 13 Sacramento.
While the realization was horrific, it was then that Benham’ parental instinct quickly kicked in. So he did what any man would do to save a loved one.
“I just ran down there, plowed into the bear, tackled it and grabbed it by the throat and started hitting it in the face and the eye until it let go,” Benham said.
“Honestly the only thing I could think of was ‘save my baby,’” he added.
Having freed Buddy from the jaws of death, Benham quickly rushed to find a veterinary clinic in the semi-rural town.
His first attempt to locate a nearby vet failed when the clinic near his home turned out to be closed due to an infection resulting from the novel coronavirus.
“My first thought was that I was going to lose him,” Benham recounted.
Fortunately, he was able to admit Buddy to the Mother Lode Veterinary Hospital, which was able to immediately provide the wounded pit bull with surgery. Benham sat in suspense as vets inserted tubes into Buddy’s head to drain fluid while stapling and stitching is wounds.
“I just stood there and watched through the window for 3 1/2 for hours,” Benham said.
Buddy is now quickly recovering from the traumatic attack, and is on the mend.
Terrifyingly, the 350-pound bear is refusing to let bygones be bygones and has instead stalked about the property where the two live. The bear has returned several times since the initial attack.
“It made an attack and had it’s food and it’s food got taken from it and it wants it back, I feel like,” Benham said.
Benham and Buddy have been an inseparable pair ever since they met at an animal shelter a few years ago. Benham didn’t hesitate when the time came to rescue his best friend once again.
“If it was your kid, what would you do. That’s my kid, I would die for my dog,” he said.
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