KAMLOOPS, BRITISH COLUMBIA
Bane, is a spunky and loving nine-year-old pitbull, who lives with his owner Ashley Gribble in Kamloops, British Columbia. Since he was a puppy, Bane has been going on long group walks and hikes through the forest with Ashley, who is a professional dog walker and experienced hiker.
On Sunday, May 5th, 2019, Ashley was on a hike with Bane, her Jack Russel mix Milka, and three other dogs that were in her care for their daily hike. It was a beautiful day for a hike on her favourite trail between McQueen Lake and Isobel Lake - a trek Ashley and her dogs had taken many times before. She came upon a marsh with a big group of frogs which she started filming, and the dogs huddled around her to observe the frog spectacle as well.
All of a sudden, a large bear came out of nowhere and was standing five feet in front of Ashley and the other dogs. The bear proceeded to stalk Ashley and the dogs for 15 minutes, before finally climbing up a tree. Milka barked at the bear, allowing Ashley to quickly head back up onto the main trail.
Confident the encounter was over, and thinking the bear was likely a mother protecting her cubs, Ashley continued walking quickly with the dogs in an attempt to get back to her car. After about a kilometer, she arrived at an open field, and turned around to find the bear charging at her full tilt. She immediately discharged her bear spray while moving backwards, tripping over a rock. Within seconds, Bane jumped in front of her while she lay on the ground, and the bear grabbed Bane instead.
They were struggling with one another, but Bane managed to get free. He ran, but the bear chased him, picking him up in his jaws and sitting on him, pinning him by the back of his neck. Bane was yelping and crying in pain. Filled with adrenaline, Ashley caught up to them and grabbed a log. She started beating the bear - hitting his face, eyes, anywhere she could reach in an attempt to free her beloved Bane. Finally, the bear let Bane go, leaving her suddenly face-to-face with the bear. She squatted down and let out a guttural, bone-chilling scream, and managed to shock the bear long enough to run away from him.
Ashley hollered for the dogs to follow her, and she walked as quickly as Bane could back to the car. Bane was in a really rough shape and was immediately rushed to the emergency vet, where they discovered he had 26 puncture wounds from bites and scratches. The vet inserted three drains for his wounds, and he suffered severe internal bruising. But, after six intense weeks of care and rest, Bane miraculously recovered.
After further investigation, conservationists determined the bear was not a mother, but a predatory male, who was in fact hunting and stalking Ashley and her dogs prior to the attack. If not for Bane’s sacrificial and heroic act, Ashley truly believes she would not be here today. For his incredible act of heroism and selfless love, Bane is now an inductee in the Purina Animal Hall of Fame.