Earlier this week a New Jersey resident got quite a surprise when he discovered that a bear had trespassed into his backyard in search of food. But, the situation was especially dangerous because the man, Mark Stinziano, had been working in his garage completely oblivious to the hulking animal’s presence on his property. However, the furry invader caught the attention of a neighbor’s nine-year-old Lab mix, Riley, who sprang into action to scare off the sizeable intruder.
“My neighbor[']s dog is getting a steak dinner next time I see him. He is an awesome pup that comes to check on the kids from time to time. Now he is keeping them safe!” Stinziano wrote on Facebook last Tuesday night. He then posted security camera footage from his home of what appeared to be a young black bear sauntering into his backyard.
As the video shows, the hungry bear grabs at a bird feeder before bringing it to the ground and lapping up its contents. After a few seconds of the bear munching on the seeds, a black blur can be seen making its way into Stinziano’s yard, zooming toward the fuzzy trespasser.
And ultimately, what happens next is one of the best examples of why people and dogs share such a special relationship. Riley lunges at the unsuspecting bear, catching him by surprise and chasing him off of Stinziano’s property. He nipped at the bear two times without showing even the slightest hint of fear.
“My daughter said she saw a bear outside, so I went out and checked the footage on the camera and couldn't believe it,” Stinziano said. “It was the first time I'd ever seen Riley fight a bear off. He chased a bear up a tree before, but nothing like this.”
“He always checks in on the kids when they’re outside in the pool. So, I guess he saw the bear, and he came running, and he chased him out. He’s great. This dog’s getting a steak dinner,” he told ABC.
As for Riley’s owner, Alan Tlusty, he thought that his dog’s bravery, while impressive, wasn’t too shocking. “I'm not surprised. He's a fearless dog.” He went on to say that Riley has actually chased after bears before after spotting them in the yard, but he hadn’t been quite as up close and personal in those incidents as he was last week.
While it’s true that things could have taken a very different turn if the bear had been larger or more aggressive, thankfully, neither Riley nor the trespasser suffered any serious injuries in the exchange. Instead, what we have is a story about a dog doing something truly dog-like: selflessly running into danger to protect the humans he loves without a single moment’s hesitation. It’s honestly something we could all learn from, because the world would be a much better place with more Rileys in it.