Oct. 30 (UPI) -- A Florida man said he rescued his small dog from the jaws of a bear when he "kicked the living hell" out of the predator outside his home.
David Fulghum said he and his wife, Brandi, spotted two yearling bears and their mother outside their Oviedo home Monday morning and he watched them for a while before getting ready for work.
He said he cracked open a door to see if the bears were still outside and Gator, the couple's 7-year-old Yorkie-Bichon mix, darted out to confront the trespassers.
"Gator goes out and all of a sudden he takes off, I'm like 'oh, my God,'" Fulghum told WKMG-TV. "I booked it around the corner there and all of a sudden the bear is standing there with my dog in its mouth."
Fulghum said instinct took over when he saw his dog in danger.
"I just went airborne and dropkicked [the bear]," he told WFTV. "[The bear] spun around, stood up on two legs, and hopped back down on four legs."
"He wasn't getting my dog, so I kicked the living hell out of that bear," Fulghum said.
Fulghum said he ran back into the house with Gator and the bear ran away.
Gator underwent $5,700 worth of emergency surgery Monday.
"He's my therapy dog once we lost our son last year, and he's been there for me so I'm going to be there for him," Fulghum said.
Fulghum said his employer loaned him the money for the canine's surgery and he is now fundraising to try to pay the company back.
"He's like our baby. He's like a child to us," Brandi Fulghum said.
The couple said they had never seen a bear on their property before Monday.
"I just want people to know: Be careful," Fulghum said. "I have grandchildren. If these bears are out 18 hours a day, you don't know they could be in a tree, in the woods ... You just don't know. Just be aware of your surroundings."