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Nevada County Man Tackles, Punches Bear To Save His Rescue Dog 'Buddy'

GRASS VALLEY (CBS 13) — A man's Thanksgiving brawl ended up saving his best friend's life.

Kaleb Bentham and his 90-pound pit bull "Buddy" spent Thanksgiving lying in bed, but they're feeling more thankful than ever.

"Honestly the only thing I could think of was 'save my baby,'" Bentham said.

It was a tale of survival, the day before Thanksgiving. Benham said Buddy was outside playing near his home off You Bet Road when something just didn't sound right. Buddy had come face to face with a 350-pound bear.

"I heard a growl, looked about 75-100 feet down, and the bear was dragging him by his head, had his head in his mouth," Benham said.

That horror sunk in but didn't paralyze him.

"I just ran down there, plowed into the bear, tackled it and grabbed it by the throat and started hitting it in the face and the eye until it let go," Benham said.

Then came the desperate dash to find a vet. The first place Benham tried, which was closest to his house, had been closed down due to a positive COVID-19 case.

"My first thought was that I was going to lose him," Benham said.

But Mother Lode Veterinary Hospital was ready for surgery as soon as Benham got there. Buddy needed staples, stitches and tubes inserted into his head to drain fluid.

"I just stood there and watched through the window for 3 1/2 for hours," Benham said.

And now Buddy is making a speedy recovery. But the bear is still out there and Benham said it won't leave them alone. It's been back to the house several times since the attack.

"It made an attack and had it's food and it's food got taken from it and it wants it back, I feel like," he said.

Benham rescued Buddy from a shelter a few years ago and didn't hesitate to rescue him again from a 350-pound bear.

"If it was your kid, what would you do. That's my kid, I would die for my dog," he said.

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