Shelby is a 14-year-old German Shepherd and Chesapeake Bay Retriever mix rescue from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario who lives on a 35-acre property with her two owners, Louise Robillard and Andy Chyc. Shelby was brought into the family when her owners decided it was time to get a large dog to help protect the house and farm from predatory wildlife, like the foxes and coyotes that were often seen on their land.
On April 30th, 2018, Louise went on her routine walk with Shelby along the trails that ran through her property. It was only moments into their walk when Louise and Shelby noticed three black bear cubs off the trail, but no mother bear in sight. Suddenly, the mother bear appeared and started charging toward Louise. Shelby ran quickly between the bear and Louise and stood her ground in an effort to protect her owner. The bear slammed into Shelby, and both animals rolled around on the ground, before disappearing into some bushes, still fighting. From where she stood and watched, all that Louise could hear were shrieks from Shelby.
Back at home, Andy received a call from a neighbour warning him that a bear was sighted in the area. Andy immediately headed out to warn Louise, who was walking in the same area. As he approached the trail, he could hear screaming, and initially believed it was Louise who was being attacked by the bear. Then all fell silent.
Believing that the bear had killed Shelby, Andy and Louise started to make their way back toward the house where it was safe. Before they got too far, they saw Shelby emerging from the bushes, but barely able to walk. The extensive injuries their dog had endured in the bear attack were visible on her body, and they immediately rushed her to the nearby Animal Hospital for emergency surgery.
Over the next four months Shelby sustained several operations, had tubes inserted into her wounds for draining, and endured many physiotherapy sessions to get her back to a stable condition.
Louise knows that without Shelby’s courageous actions and devotion to her owner she might not have lived on to share her hound’s heroic story. Louise and Andy witnessed the extent of Shelby’s protective qualities that day through a selfless act that ultimately saved her human’s life.