His owners were walking him and a group of other pooches in New York on Sunday when they came across a black bear. The bear likely didn’t hear or smell the group of pets due to the weather and was turning around after it felt threatened.
“Pete stepped up and held off the bear until I could get the other dogs to safety,” said the pup’s owner. “Once I was sure they were safe, I went back and scared the bear off, but Pete was gravely injured.”
He, his wife and a friend were able to get Pete, who “held on like a real trooper the whole time,” to a hospital where they were told that severe spinal damage would likely leave him unable to walk. As a senior dog, Pete’s owners decided that since he might not even survive the initial surgery, it was “best to let him go.”
“Run free, Pete, you no longer have all those aches and pains of old age,” the owners captioned the photo of their beloved pet. “You had a great 18 months with us running the days away like you loved.”
They added, “Please light a candle for Pete and remember that fostering and rescuing a dog can sometimes save you. Senior dogs have so much to give. Love you Petey. Save me some cheese for when we see each other again. ”
The adopted dog’s owners run a pet-sitting company and, on their business page, after Pete’s story went viral, they took to social media to thank the public for its support.
“I want everyone to know that I would trade all of this attention to just have one more day with Pete,” they shared on Facebook. “I think all of you know how much we love our dogs and all the animals that we care for so please squeeze your furry family tight tonight and give them a big kiss from ‘the lady.'”