The dog was able to use some "ninja moves" to avoid being injured by the bear.
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Russell terrier in the woods who saves mom from bear attack
Credit: alexei_tm / Getty

A Vermont woman survived a bear attack over the weekend—thanks to the heroics of her quite brave Russell terrier who distracted the biting omnivore. 

Susan Lee, 61, was walking Saturday with her terrier and Labradoodle on her property in Strafford, according to the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department. Lee's dogs had vanished from sight, so she called for them. She heard a loud noise, and the bear charged at her.  

She tripped on a stone wall and the bear was soon on top of her and bit her upper left leg. That's when her dog—who weighs about a tenth of a female bear—started barking at the bear, who then abandoned Lee to turn her attention to the dog, the wildlife department said. Lee used the opportunity to get up and return to her house. 

Game Warden Sgt. Jeffrey Whipple told USA Today the uninjured terrier used "ninja moves" to avoid the bear. 

Lee escaped with injuries that aren't life-threatening. She suffered the bite on her upper leg and scratches between 2 and 9(!) inches long on her sides. 

According to the wildlife experts, the rare bear attack—there are only three others in the state's history—was likely a misunderstanding. The bear was nearby with her cubs, and the dogs' presence probably made her feel threatened. 

Wildlife officials haven't located the bear and stopped looking for her. State bear biologist Jaclyn Comeau told USA Today the incident was so isolated they didn't need to find her.

"At this time of year black bears are moving in family units and mothers will be protective of their cubs," Comeau said in a statement. "If confronted by a bear, it is essential to remain calm and back away slowly and to fight back immediately if attacked."