It was a seemingly normal day for Kaleb Bentham and his pitbull “Buddy” at their rural Grass Valley home when an unexpected intruder attacked. After hearing a growl coming from outside where Buddy was playing, Bentham looked out to see his 90-pound dog being dragged down the hill by a 350-pound bear.
While the sight of Buddy in peril was terrifying for Bentham, he jumped into action to save his best friend.
“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 to CBS13 Sacramento.
Buddy’s face was severely damaged. His ears had to be stapled back on. But he’s recovering! Kaleb and Buddy spent Thanksgiving laying in bed resting, but they’re more thankful than ever. Photo of Buddy as Kaleb watched from outside the operating room ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/T8IhDjkvLs— Anna Giles (@AnnaGilesTV) December 4, 2020
The attack worked and the bear ran off into the wilderness, but Buddy still needed significant attention at the vet to survive. At the Mother Lode Veterinary Hospital, Buddy received staples, stitches and tubes inserted into his head to drain fluid. While the pit is making a speedy recovery, Benham worries the bear is still on the hunt in their area.
The bear has been back several times since the attack, keeping Benham and Buddy on edge.
“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,” he said.
California is home to an estimated 25,000 to 30,000 black bears, according to California Fish and Wildlife. Those bears can range from 100 to 350 pounds, with some growing as large as 600 pounds.
Wishing a safe and speedy recovery to Buddy!