iN VIDEO: How this Kamloops woman and her dog are coping after bear attack - InfoNews

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iN VIDEO: How this Kamloops woman and her dog are coping after bear attack

Ashley Gribble holds her dog, Bane, in this photo handed out on May 21, 2019. The two of them survived a bear attack earlier this month, May 5, 2019, while hiking on a trail between McQueen Lake and Isobel Lake.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Ashley Gribble
May 26, 2019 - 12:00 PM

KAMLOOPS — Surviving a bear attack has given a Kamloops woman and the dog that saved her a new lease on life.

"I feel more attached to (my dog Bane), and there’s a shared experience of near death and having to have actually fought for each other is definitely an interesting feeling," said Ashley Gribble. "It’s definitely just brought us closer together."

Gribble's harrowing story started on May 5, when she and the five dogs she was walking on a trail North of Kamloops started  being stalked by a black bear.

She used her bear spray, but it failed. So she walked backward, yelling at the bear until she tripped on a rock.

"When I was on the ground, the bear just a few feet from me, lunged and I prepared myself for a bite," Gribble wrote in the Facebook post published on May 10.

"It was at this moment that my dog Bane (leaped) in front of me and the bear attacked him instead."

She saw the bear pick up her 80-pound dog "like a stick" and  pin him to the ground.

"I'm screaming and yelling 'help' and then before I even knew what was happening, with adrenaline surging through me, my instincts were taking over and I was running full tilt at the bear with a log," Gribble said on Facebook.

She describes beating the bear in the face with the log until he released Bane from his hold, and the dog was able to run away. 

But then she found herself face-to-face with the bear.

“I screamed as (loudly) as I possibly could and banged the log against the trees beside me,” she said. “The bear stared at me for what seemed like forever and then for whatever reason (he) decided to give up and slowly retreated up the slope behind him."

In the meantime, she backed away out of the trees towards where the other dogs had been watching and barking.

Gribble escaped with some bruising from when she fell, but Bane was injured with 26 puncture wounds from bites and clawing, and internal bruising. He needed three medical drains.

"If Bane had not (leaped) in front of me, I know without a doubt that the bear would've mauled me and most likely would've killed me," she said. "He absolutely saved my life."

Bane wearing bandages in this hand out photo from May 21, 2019.
Bane wearing bandages in this hand out photo from May 21, 2019.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Ashley Gribble

Yesterday, May 21, Gribble told iNFOnews.ca his secondary drains were removed and Gribble anticipates his stitches will be out next week.

Though Gribble said his recovery is taking a little longer than vets would like, Bane is in good spirits.

"He’s wanting to play," she said on the phone. "He's more mopey and bummed that he can’t do anything at this point."

While Gribble describes herself as "totally fine" physically, she said mentally she is processing some anxiety after the incident.

"The way I’m dealing with the anxiety is to learn as much as possible and move forward," she said. "I’m still hiking but now I’m just more hypervigilant when I’m out."

Gribble won't call herself a "bear expert" but following the experience she educated herself on bears by talking extensively with conservation officers. They addressed the bear spray which wasn't effective because it wasn't full and she was standing too far away from the bear.

She also says it's important that people know the difference between a predatory bear and a defensive bear.

"When you come across a defensive bear the best and safest way is to leave the area," she said. "With predatory bears, you need to stand your ground and drive the bear away."

The one that followed her in the woods was a predatory male bear and was eventually euthanized.

See Gribble's Facebook post below.

LANGUAGE ADVISORY


To contact a reporter for this story, email Shelby Thevenot or call (250) 819-6089 or email the editor You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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