PETERBOROUGH, Ont. — Lynn O'Connor, 53, thought she was about to die when a mother bear attacked and bit her in the stomach, but her two dogs saved her life.
She is at home recovering from the vicious bear attack near her Belmont-Methuen Township cottage Sunday afternoon.
It was a little after 3:30 p.m. and she was out for a walk with her German shepherds, Jake, 12, and Kyra, 5.
Jake is blind, partially deaf and doesn't move so well, but still loves its daily walk on the 69 acres the couple owns south of Hwy. 7, about 90 minutes northeast of Toronto.
Kyra was running in and out of the bushes, chasing squirrels and birds, when O'Connor noticed a bear staring at her.
A few terrifying seconds later the bear attacked.
"It wasn't interested in the dogs, it just came right for me," O'Connor said. "It just put me down and just started biting me. The first bite it took, I thought, 'It's going to kill me,'” she said.
Jake lunged at the bear and managed to distract it enough to lure it 10 feet away from O'Connor.
O'Connor said she heard a yelp. The bear had knocked Jake down, and the dog struggled to get back up.
Kyra stepped into the fray, baiting the bear away from Jake, O'Connor said.
But the bear was still interested in O'Connor and attacked her again, biting her abdomen, arms and legs.
O'Connor's husband Jerry, 55, was sitting in their cabin watching a football game when he heard a commotion.
He said he hopped on an ATV and followed the screaming.
He found his wife in the middle of the path, covered in blood. She had one of her walking sticks in her hand and was poking it into the air, he said. Jake was lying at her feet.
Kyra was running down the trail, away from him, but he couldn't see anything chasing the dog.
Jerry said he put his wife on the ATV, but by then the bear had come back. The dogs continued to protect them, he said, circling the ATV and keeping the bear at bay.
Jerry drove Lynn to the cottage and got her in the car.
"She said, 'We're not leaving without Jake," Jerry said.
Out of the corner of his eye Jerry saw something black racing around the corner at them. For one heart-stopping second, he thought it was the bear again.
It was Jake. He jumped in the car and the family drove away.
"Those dogs are heroes," Jerry said. "They were willing to give their lives for her."
Lynn was released from the hospital Monday morning. The dogs don't have a mark on them, Jerry said.