As recounted by John Wacker, 67:
On May 21st, John’s son Chris was out mushroom hunting with Toby in an open meadow a few hundred yards from their home. Chris had gathered a nice bagful of morel mushrooms when a 300-lb. mother bear crossed their path.
“I was getting them pretty good. I had a bagful,” Chris said. “Then I heard something in the woods in front of us. I thought it was a man, standing by a tree, looking at us.”
Then he saw two bear cubs, making their way up a tree. The man-like bear was still standing in the brush.
Toby came up, looked at Chris and dove into the brush. Minutes later, Toby was running back. A 300-lb. bear was after him, moving at 25 mph.
Toby stopped when he got to Chris, turned and faced right into the bear. Chris was on the ground, scrambling backwards. The bear overran Toby, caught the brave dog in the hind end and slammed him around.
Chris made it back to his feet and fled back to the house, 250 yards away: “I’m not much of a running guy anymore. I was just shot by the time I got to the house. I was seeing stars. I lost my hat, my mushrooms, my jacket. The next day I pulled a half-inch-long thorn out of my head.”
“I’m pretty sure the bear didn’t have any interest in me,” Chris said. “We just got in the wrong situation, with the cubs and a male bear and a female bear. It was not a good place for a dog, especially a big black one.”
John Wacker said, “My son was really shaken. I’ve never seen him that shaken, and he’s been in the woods a lot.” The mother bear has been causing numerous problems in the neighborhood – raiding birdfeeders and sheds, spooking horses and possibly killing a steer. But as bears have less and less open territory to roam, coupled with a dearth of food, they are forced to seek food in residential areas. This bear has become brazen. She’s aggressive. She would have killed Chris. … Toby saved his life. I’m convinced of that.”
Ten minutes after the attack, Toby returned home with bite marks on his shoulder, and four to six inch puncture wounds from the bear’s claws.
“I should have put him down. I was brought up that way on the farm, but because of what he did to save Chris, Toby just needed to have a chance,” John said.
He took the dog to veterinarian Randall Lindemann, who did everything he could to save Toby’s life.
Toby remained at the vet for a few days, but didn’t make much of an improvement when he got home. He was drinking but not eating. On Sunday evening, he took a turn for the worse.
That Monday, Memorial Day, John had to work driving the bus for some students’ Memorial Day services. When he got home, he knew Toby was at the end: “I could tell Toby was going downhill. Every time he drank water, he was throwing up white foam. The vet dropped everything and met me at the clinic, on Memorial Day, too. I told my wife, I don’t think Toby’s gonna make it. I could tell the spirit and life was going out of him when I left.”
The brave Labrador died the next morning.
Toby is buried him in the backyard. John plans to put a concrete marker over the grave that will read, “Here lies Toby, the dog who saved my son.”
Source: Life With Dogs