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Late in July 2010, Mina the chihuahua was accompanying her owner Sarah Banach and Sarah's boyfriend Mark Brewer on a camping journey in Cle Elum, Washington. While hiking along Paris Creek, a black bear tramped out of the woods and faced Sarah and Mark on the path.

That's when seven-pound Mina rushed forward to protect her humanss, challenging the bear. "The bear was growling at her and when she attacked, that's when he swiped her underside," said Banach. With that one swat, Mina's belly was cut open, and she was tossed through the air. Banach thought surely Mina was dead, but "Luckily he only got her with one claw."

The bear then shambled away. Mina was rushed to an animal hospital in Seattle where she was x-rayed, given some emergency surgery and stitches, and began what was expected to be a full recovery. "I feel like she's my protector," said Banach. "My little hero."


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