Border Collie Dog Saves Ultra Marathoner From Serious Bear Attack

Pacer bit and distracted the black bear just enough to prevent a more brutal mauling.

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Canadian ultra marathoner Reid Roberts was attacked by a mama black bear, but his Border Collie dog Pacer helped to fend off the animal. Via Reid Roberts/Facebook
John Virata

A man in British Columbia, Canada, has his Border Collie dog to thank for fending off a black bear attack during an afternoon run.

Reid Roberts, an accomplished ultra-marathoner from Prince George B.C., was out training with his dog, Pacer, on May 17 when the two startled a black bear and her cubs on a trail at Forests for the World provincial park, according to the Prince George Citizen.

The pair had just started a climb, with Pacer about five feet in front, when the bear was startled out of some willow trees on the side of the trail.

“This bear came out ears down, head down, eyes glued on me,” Roberts told the Prince George Citizen. “It was in attack mode right away.”

Roberts, 47, no stranger to bear encounters, did what people are advised to do when facing a black bear in the wilderness. He started yelling and waving his hands while backing up. The advice didn’t work and he found himself on the ground with the bear taking swipes at him with her front paws. Roberts then started kicking at the mama bear, and that is when Pacer charged the bear and started biting the bear and barking, Roberts told the Prince George Citizen.


Reid Roberts suffered bear scratches on his stomach and arm. Via Reid Roberts Facebook/Prince George Citizen

This diversion enabled Roberts to stand again as the bear gave chase to Pacer, but it didn’t last long as the bear came back and again attacked Roberts, putting him on his back for a second time. But Pacer was right there to challenge the bear with Roberts now bleeding profusely from his hand.

“Pacer was on her just as fast, biting at her,” Roberts told the Prince George Citizen. “This time she took off hard after him, but I knew he would out run her.”

Roberts then wrapped his hand using his shirt and looked for a tree to climb up in anticipation of the bear returning, but fortunately for him she did not return.

He then called Jeff Hunter, a fellow ultra marathoner, to let him know where he was and what transpired but was sent to voicemail. So he called 911. He stumbled to the parking lot, bleeding and bruised and waited for the ambulance. He told the Prince George Citizen he didn’t want to leave without Pacer, but the paramedics informed him the dog had run home.

Roberts received 16 stitches on his hand and has some minor bear claw marks on his stomach and arm. Pacer was uninjured, and Roberts credits his dog for distracting the bear enough so it couldn’t do any further damage.

“If I didn’t have my dog there, I would’ve walked right past it and the bear would’ve come out and taken me out,” Roberts told the Prince George Citizen.

But the attack won’t deter him from taking to the trails again.

“Next time I will make more noise more often and keep Pacer in the lead,” he said.

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