Tributes have been paid to a dog who died defending his owner and four other dogs against a bear.
Pete, a 14-year-old English Setter, was hiking with his owner Stephen Parisi at Monksville Reservoir in New Jersey on Sunday when they came across the black bear.
The bear is believed to have been sheltering and unable to smell Stephen and the dogs as a result of recent rain and so became startled.
Pete held off the bear while Stephen got away, tying the other four dogs to a tree at a safe spot. When he was sure it was safe to do so, he returned to shoo the bear away.
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Stephen's wife Cathi Henn told the BBC: "The bear's only exit was a 180-degree turn and the bear was never going to turn its back on something that it was scared of, so it came for Stephen and the dogs."
Below is an account from my husband of yesterdays pack walk. "Today we lost our brave, old man Pete. The dogs surprised a black bear just off the trail while we were hiking this morning. It must not have heard or smelled us with the pouring rain. It felt threatened and turned around. Pete stepped up and held off the bear until I could get the other dogs to safety. Once I was sure they were safe, I went back and scared the bear off, but Pete was gravely injured. I was able to get him back down to the main trail and, thanks to Cathi and Kate, we were able to get him in a car and to the hospital pretty quickly. He held on like a real trooper the whole time, and he was never alone in his pain. The x-rays revealed some pretty bad spinal damage that would mean he could never walk again, if he survived all the surgeries (not a certain thing at his age). We decided it was best to let him go this afternoon. Run free Pete, you no longer have all those aches and pains of old age. You had a great 18 months with us running the days away like you loved." Please light a candle for Pete and remember that fostering and rescuing a dog can sometimes save you. Senior dogs have so much to give. Love you Petey. Save me some cheese for when we see each other again. ❤️💔❤️
Pete was severely injured and his back was broken. Unable to carry him, Stephen wrapped Pete in a waterproof jacket and pulled him along the ground by the hood, over a mile back to Stephen's car.
Pete was taken to Oradell Animal Hospital with the help of Cathi and her friend Kate.
Cathi and Stephen made the decision to have Pete put down as a result of his injuries which would have left him unable to walk again.
Cathi said: "I want to remember him as the happy-go-lucky dog he was. I want to remember him running through the woods, always with his tail wagging."
Pete's story has had over a 1,000 likes on Instagram, has become a Twitter moment and has been well received on Facebook, too.
The couple have been surprised by the response to Pete's story.
"Thanks to everyone who have offered their condolences, I didn't expect anything like this," said Cathi. "We were just upset about our dog.
"We are just devastated. All this love for Pete is great but we'd happily trade it for just one more day with him."
A former hunting dog from Ohio, Pete was fostered by Cathi and Stephen 18 months ago when he had become too old for his former life.
"Pete loved to be the centre of attention, he would have loved all this.
"Older dogs can give so much love, Pete turned out to be our hero too."
By Kris Bramwell, UGC and Social News