In Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Priscilla Epperson heard her dog barking madly downstairs in the bedroom where her children were sleeping. When she got downstairs, Coco, her dog, was running around a black bear.
According to Epperson, she had not yet locked up for the evening so the exterior door to her bedroom wasn’t latched.
“I was upstairs doing some laundry and the bear had pushed my bedroom door open,” she said.
Her three children were sleeping on the bed where they watched a movie, Epperson said.
“I have a spastic little dog and she went nuts. I came down there and she had chased the bear outside and freaked it out. She was running circles around the bear,” Epperson said. “She was running so fast, it looked like the bear got confused and just took off running up the driveway.”
Epperson didn’t want to shout at her dog because she feared Coco would stop and the bear would maul the dog. When the bear ran up the driveway, Coco ran after it, but returned when Epperson called her.
“She came back and sat by my bedroom door for an hour with every hair on her back standing straight up like a porcupine,” Epperson said. “I’ve seen a million bears since I’ve been here, but I’ve never seen one run from a dog. It was cool. Had Coco not been down there, the bear could have been walking around my bedroom with the kids in there. The bear didn’t do anything. The bear was in shock.”
The bear probably smelled food and came through the door for that reason, according to Epperson.
She adopted Coco from family friend Brian P. Spiezio. He originally met Coco when some business owners gave her to his dad after they found the dog roaming on the street.
“My dad’s dog passed away and he was sad,” he said.
Spiezio said Coco lived a nice life. His parents had the dog for about six months. They took Coco to Florida on vacation where a Pit Bull mauled her.
A veterinarian patched up Coco for free. After Spiezio’s parents decided to move to Florida for good, they had to give Coco up so Epperson adopted her.
“Everyday she sends us stories about Coco and lets us know how happy they are about adopting her,” Spiezio said.
He wasn’t surprised when he learned that Coco had chased a bear to protect the children.
“I know what kind of character she is. It is a high-energy dog who loves kids. I can see it being very protective and being a high-energy defender in the Smokies,” he said.
“That dog has been through a lot. To be given away, put on the street, mauled by a pit bull, recover and then save kids from a bear is pretty remarkable.”
Image and article source: The Indy Channel