A Montana man was attacked by a bear in Alaska but came away from the incident smiling after reuniting with his dog that ran away.
It could’ve been worse for Jason Umbriaco, who was hiking on the Upper Kenai River trail with Buckley, his 14-week-old border collie, when they encountered a brown bear with her two cubs.
He told KTUU that as soon as Buckley moved forward, the bear charged him.
Umbriaco had no time to react and was bitten twice.
“I held my arms up in a defensive position and then she bit me on the forearm, kind of up close to my elbow,” details Umbriaco, who said that when the bear let go, he panicked and jumped into the river.
The bear, however, followed him and bit the man on the shoulder, before retreating with her cubs.
Umbriaco made his way back to his truck to call for help but by then, Buckley was long gone.
Umbriaco was taken to a local hospital where he met Bonnie Nichols, who heard about the man’s lost pooch.
She offered to post a photo of Buckley on Facebook because she knew the post would be shared.
“Alaskans love dogs,” she explained.
The day of the bear attack, a woman named Wendie Wilson was driving to Anchorage when she came across what she thought was a stray dog.
She took him home and the next day, she saw Nichols’ post about Buckley.
“She called me and said, ‘I think I have the missing dog,’” recounted Nichols.
“She texted me some pictures and then I showed them to Jason, and he said, ‘Yeah, that’s him.’”
Umbriaco spent one night in hospital before he was discharged and quickly met up with Wilson and his beloved Buckley.
“It was just a shock. I couldn’t believe it,” said Umbriaco. “I had kind of given up hope, and I was sort of making preparations inside to just move forward without him, and now it’s like I’m gonna have those times back of just joy, and peace.