Pete was a senior dog who enjoyed touring the woodlands of Greenwood Lake, New York. At 13.5 years old, he was one of the oldest pups among the rest of his fellow canines.
The pooch had been adopted 18 months earlier by his foster parents who owned a dog-walking and pet-sitting service.
The owners’ Instagram and Facebook pages documented many of those walks, which always included Pete.
While most of their adventures always went as planned, Sunday’s walk ended tragically.
In a detailed Instagram post, the female owner shared a statement by her husband who described the moment he and the dogs ran into a black bear.
“The dogs surprised a black bear just off the trail while we were hiking this morning,” he said. “It felt threatened and turned around.”
As the owner ran to safety with the rest of the dogs, Pete stayed behind, fighting off the animal. The man said he later returned, helping the fearless canine scare away the bear.
By the time the bear ran off, the owner noticed his dog had a few injuries and carried him back down to the main trail. Two of his friends then helped transport the wounded pup to a vet hospital.
X-rays showed that Pete sustained a spinal cord injury that would cause him to never walk again. Surgery was an option, but not the best option at his age.
“He held on like a real trooper the whole time, and he was never alone in his pain,” the post read. “We decided it was best to let him go this afternoon.”
On the day of the event, one of the owners’ friends, journalist Ben White, wrote a Twitter post in honor of Pete’s life. It has now gone viral, reaching more than 183,900 likes.
“So our friends lost their sweet setter Pete today,” White wrote. “RIP PETE THE HERO!”
It has been a tough time for Pete’s owners, but they have expressed gratitude for all the support they’ve gotten since his passing.
His time here on earth was a testament that rescue dogs, even at Pete’s age, will sacrifice their own life for their owners.
“Please light a candle for Pete and remember that fostering and rescuing a dog can sometimes save you,” they said. “Senior dogs have so much to give.”
Pete was a dog with a huge heart who was willing to lay down his life for a friend. Thanks to his owners for seeing potential in him, taking him in, and giving him an awesome last few months.
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