Don’t call Fricka fat; call her fortunate.
According to Fox 8 News, the 15 1/2-lb. miniature pinscher’s chubby tummy saved her from ending up inside a bear’s belly. You read that right: The petite, but pleasantly plump pup’s “spare tire” became the first line of defense when an aggressive bear entered her Altamonte Springs, Florida, backyard last Tuesday and attacked her.
“The vet said she’s just really hearty. She said the extra layer of fat kept the bear’s claw from tearing out her intestines,” said Eric Vaughn, Fricka’s owner.
Vaughn told local media that he switched on a porch light to try to scare the bear away, to no avail. He then yelled for Fricka to come inside, but the dog was clearly too big for her britches — and either bravely or stubbornly (depending on how you look at it) refused to stand down. The man ran outside to get her, but it was too late.
“What seemed like a nano second, it was right up on us! And I hollered for her to come on, and I start to run and I hear her yelp out in pain,” Vaughn said.
After hearing her cry out like that, Fricka’s dad was sure she was dead.
“As I rounded the grill, I felt her bump up against my leg and I was like, ‘Oh my God, she’s with me.’ So, I took off running. I get on the patio. I open the door. I pushed her in with my right foot and as I’m closing the door, the bear was right there.”
Luckily Fricka survived this close encounter with a bear and is only a bit worse for wear, currently recuperating with about a dozen stitches.
Alyssa Simmons, a bear biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, tells Orlando’s News 6 that bears are very active this time of year in the area, particularly at dusk, and on the move during the night. She warned local residents not to leave trash and food outdoors that can attract them.
Approximately 4,000 black bears call Florida home, living mostly in the central region of the state.