This story of a heroic dog who died protecting his owner will break your heart

A dog owner has shared an emotional story on Instagram of how his pet pooch died after protecting the rest of his pack from a black bear. SEE ALSO: Marine makes bucket list for dying dog who saved his life Pete was an adopted dog whose owners run a dog walking and pet sitting service. He was out hiking with his owner and the pack in the Greenwood Lake, New York, area on Sunday, when they accidentally startled a black bear. While the other dogs and his owner escaped to safety, Pete stayed behind to protect them. The story, which went viral after it was shared by a friend of the owner on Twitter, can be read in full below. Below is an account from my husband of yesterdays pack walk. "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. Run free Pete, you no longer have all those aches and pains of old age. You had a great 18 months with us running the days away like you loved." Please light a candle for Pete and remember that fostering and rescuing a dog can sometimes save you. Senior dogs have so much to give. Love you Petey. Save me some cheese for when we see each other again. ❤️??????❤️ A post shared by Me & My Shadow Pets (@mmspets) on Feb 12, 2018 at 1:16pm PST A condensed version of the story was shared on Twitter by journalist Ben White, where it's since been shared over 28,000 times. So our friends lost their sweet setter Pete today. He and some other dogs surprised a black bear while on a hike. Pete bravely protected the rest of the crew who got to safety. Pete later succumbed to his injuries. He was an older guy and went out a true hero. RIP PETE THE HERO! pic.twitter.com/a3W5q9DHbc — Ben White (@morningmoneyben) February 12, 2018 Thanks so much to all for the huge outpouring of love for sweet, brave Pete. If you want to meet his owners, check out @mmspets on here and Insta where you will see Pete in action... https://t.co/Ki7HP2YYLJ — Ben White (@morningmoneyben) February 12, 2018 If you head to @mmspets on Instagram, you can see more photos of Pete and the other dogs in the pack. This old man (13.5!) still runs like a pup. #mmspets #oesr #fosterfailure #peteymac A post shared by Me & My Shadow Pets (@mmspets) on Sep 9, 2017 at 5:30pm PDT You’re my #bluesky You’re my #sunnyday #mmspets #packrules #losetheleash #hikingwithdogs #labs #gsp #setters #spaniels #hounds #nofilter #appalachiantrail A post shared by Me & My Shadow Pets (@mmspets) on Jan 31, 2018 at 12:41pm PST Monday madness. Kaiser was super happy to be back in the pack after winter break. #mmspets #packwalk #losetheleash #packrules #gsp #englishsetter #englishlab #lab #dutchshepherd #rescuemutt A post shared by Me & My Shadow Pets (@mmspets) on Jan 16, 2018 at 10:05am PST On Monday evening, after the story went viral, Pete's owners took to Twitter to thank everyone for their support. My husband and I want to thank everyone for the outpouring of love for #petethehero He was a senior dog that we adopted after fostering. His actions prove that no dog is too old to be abandoned or too lost to be loved. #oesr #rescuedogs #rainbowbridge pic.twitter.com/PdZ7gctJIB — Me & My Shadow Pets (@mmspets) February 13, 2018 "He was a senior dog that we adopted after fostering," they wrote.  "His actions prove that no dog is too old to be abandoned or too lost to be loved." WATCH: Never lose your dog again with the help of this tracker

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