'God's Will,' Dog Saved Woman In Brutal Bear Attack: Family

A Pennsylvania woman can thank a feisty dog, a Pekinese mix, and "God's will" for saving her from a bear attack and mauling that almost took her life, the woman's family said.

Melinda LeBarron, 50, who lives in a rural area near Montgomery, was hospitalized in critical condition requiring multiple surgeries after she was accosted, dragged nearly the length of a football field, and mauled by a bear along the way. LeBarron remains in critical condition one week later but her husband, Sidney, said his wife was saved by "God's will," while a daughter-in-law also credits help from the family dog, ironically named Bear, which was also mauled.

The attack began when LeBarron was outside in the early evening, smoking a cigarette while letting the dog out. The dog started barking and then the bear "thumped her," her husband told pennlive.com.

She reportedly tried punching the bear but it was dragging her. The family dog Bear got involved with the bear during the attack, suffering multiple injuries including broken ribs, a punctured lung and a cot on the stomach, according to the report. Bear, the dog, is home and expected to recover, however.

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LeBarron is recovering, but she's still hospitalized and remains in critical condition, according to pennlive.com. She's already had "several surgeries due to extensive head injuries" with more scheduled, according to the report.

How LeBarron managed to escape from the bear after being dragged almost 90 yards was "God's will," her husband said, reporting that his wife crawled up a large bush and managed to crawl back to the house after the bear fled.

Officials have not been able to locate the bear that attacked LeBarron.

"While there still are some questions about what led to this attack, it can be said with certainty that these types of encounters are extremely rare," said game commission black bear biologist Mark Ternent, according to the Daily Item. "While bear attacks seldom occur, there's always the potential for the unfortunate exception to the rule. Fortunately, most of the injuries that have occurred in Pennsylvania have not been life-threatening."

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A GoFundMe fundraising campaign started by LeBarron's 11-year-old granddaughter to help pay medical bill has already exceeded its $6,000 goal.

"We cannot believe the amount of love, support and coverage that this has gotten and are eternally grateful to you all," the family posted on gofundme.com. "She is a mother, grandmother, wife, daughter, aunt and the glue that holds the family together!"

'God's Will,' Dog Saved Woman In Brutal Bear Attack: Family | U.S.