An courageous eight year old Labrador gave his life to save a family member from a bear!
Toby, a black lab was killed by a large black bear while he accompanied Chris Wacker on a mushrooming expedition in Evergreen Township. This photo was taken shortly after the attack, before the Lab was taken to the veterinarian.
Toby, the Labrador, chased by a big black bear, ensuring the safety of his owner’s brother. Toby was owned by John Wacker of Evergreen Township in northwestern Minnesota’s Becker County. The Labrador was a smart, loving member of the family who will be sorely missed.
His owner recounted how he loved to sneak off and play with the neighbor kids a half-mile away.
And Wacker swears he could speak English, at least two words. “He could say ‘water’ and ‘hello.’ I taught him,” Wacker said with a laugh.
“Speak up,” he would say to Toby, and the dog would get noticeably louder.
Toby was killed by a black bear about 5 p.m. May 21, close to his back yard, after he accompanied Wacker’s son, Chris, 45, on a mushrooming expedition.
They were a few hundred yards from the house, after following a trail that led into the woods and out into an open meadow visible from the house.
“There’s lots of mushrooms there,” Wacker said. “Morels. We eat nothing but morels.”
Chris Wacker said he had gathered a good batch of mushrooms when the trouble started.
“I was getting them pretty good. I had a bagful,” he said. “Then I heard something in the woods in front of us. I thought it was a man, standing by a tree, looking at us.”
He then noticed two bear cubs in another tree scooting up a little higher.
“At the same time, an adult male bear moved across one of our 1-acre food plots; we have a couple of them,” he said. “I looked back, and the one bear was still standing there.”
Then Toby came up, looked at Chris Wacker and disappeared into the brush.
“A few minutes later, Toby was running back to me like a scared dog,” Chris Wacker said. “I thought, ‘Oh, no …’ ”
The bear, that Chris Wacker estimated at 300 pounds, was after the dog and moving at least 25 mph, he said.
“Toby stopped when he got to me and turned and faced right into the bear. It actually overran him and just kind of caught him in the hind end,” Chris Wacker said.
Chris Wacker ended up on the ground, scrambling backward about 10 yards as the bear savagely attacked the dog.
Chris Wacker said he wasn’t even sure how Toby made it the 250 yards back to the house.
He believes the same bear has been causing problems in the neighborhood for several years. It has raided his bird feeders and shed, might have killed a neighbor’s steer and was perhaps the reason a neighbor girl’s usually gentle horse threw her and bolted.
John Wacker said the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources gave him the OK to shoot the bear if it reappears on his property.
About 10 minutes after the attack, Toby made it home.
The Lab-retriever had claw injuries 4 to 6 inches deep and bite marks on a shoulder.
They took Toby to the closest vet, Randall Lindemann, who did everything he could to save Toby’s life,” John Wacker said.
The Lab was there from May 21 to May 24, when he was brought home.
On Sunday evening, he took a turn for the worse, and died the next morning.
R.I.P beautiful, brave Toby!