A North Vancouver man says he owes his life to a local dog walker.
Scott Smith was jogging on a remote B.C. hiking trail when he suddenly found himself pursued by a large black bear. “It was a large black bear and he was hauling ass after me. I didn’t know what to do. I was in a state of shock and I started running as fast as I could.” Smith told CBC news.
He jumped off the trail and into a large bush in an attempt to escape the bear. Out of breath and unable to flee, Smith watched helplessly as the bear stood on its hind legs and approached him. Smith says he was certain he was about to be attacked when he heard the sound of dogs barking in the distance.
The bear also heard the barking and turned away from Smith to find professional dog walker Valerie Van Bruegel and four dogs approaching. “I hear a ‘Help! Help!’ from the shrubbery, so without thinking I charged towards the bear to scare him off,” she said.
It worked. The bear ran. So did Scott Smith. After his departure the bear returned, leaving Van Bruegel alone to collect her dogs. “So he completely bolted. The bear is still coming at us and I’m trying to find the dog,” she said.
Nearly an hour after the incident began, Van Bruegel was able to secure the dog and lead all four to safety. Officials tracked the bear and after being charged by it, they were forced to shoot it.
Smith said if Van Bruegel and her dogs hadn’t come along at just the right time, he has no doubt that the bear would have mauled him.