This brave little dog called Pete died after saving his entire family

This brave little dog called Pete died after saving his entire family

It's hard not to love dogs. Unless you have a bad allergic reaction to them, I find it pretty hard to understand those who dislike them. As well as being adorable, empathetic and fun animals to be around, they are fiercely loyal to their packs. And as this tragic story shows, this loyalty lasts all the way until the end.

Foster dog Pete, an English Setter being looked after by the Me & My Shadow Pets daycare service, was gravely injured, and eventually died from his wounds after defending his family from an attack. Along with other dogs under the care of the service, Pete was on a long walk through Northern New Jersey when they came across a surprising sight: a black bear.

The bear hadn't heard or otherwise sensed them coming and was startled by the dogs, lashing out at them. According to the husband of Cathi, who runs the dog sitting service, Pete jumped into action and held off the bear while the dog-walker and the other dogs were able to get to safety. The story was shared on Instagram:

"Today we lost our brave, old man Pete. The dogs surprised a black bear just off the trail while we were hiking this morning. It must not have heard or smelled us with the pouring rain.

"It felt threatened and turned around. Pete stepped up and held off the bear until I could get the other dogs to safety. Once I was sure they were safe, I went back and scared the bear off, but Pete was gravely injured.

"I was able to get him back down to the main trail and, thanks to Cathi and Kate, we were able to get him in a car and to the hospital pretty quickly.

"He held on like a real trooper the whole time and he was never alone in his pain.

"The x-rays revealed some pretty bad spinal damage that would mean he could never walk again, if he survived all the surgeries (not a certain thing at his age). We decided it was best to let him go this afternoon."

The post then went on to wish the best to the departed elderly dog. "Run free Pete, you no longer have all those aches and pains of old age," they wrote. "You had a great 18 months with us running the days away like you loved."

The post quickly went viral, bolstered by a friend of the family writing about the dog on Twitter. "Pete bravely protected the rest of the crew who got to safety," he wrote. "He was an older guy and went out a true hero. RIP PETE THE HERO!"

The organization thanked everyone for their outpouring of support for Pete, and noted that the senior dog just goes to show that no rescue dog is too old to be adopted.

Rest in peace, Pete.