BLACK MOUNTAIN, N.C. -- A pet dog died saving his family from a bear that walked into their North Carolina home on Friday morning.
Tiffany Merrill told WLOS that it happened after she opened the sliding glass door of her Black Mountain home to let her dog out.
She said when she turned around to call for the dog, a bear walked into her house.
"I started yelling for my kids. 'Shut your doors! Shut your doors! There's a bear in the house,'" she said.
Moments later, her small 5-pound pooch named "Pickles" appeared.
"My dog came out, started barking and got the bears attention, and got the bear outside and he saved my life," said Merrill as she choked back tears.
Pickles lost his life though while protecting his family.
"There was nothing I could do," said Merrill. "I wanted to go out there and jump on the back of the bear and save my dog."
As Tiffany and her daughter, Emily, grieve they also reflect on all the good times they once shared with their beloved pet.
"He was always with me. If I stayed up late, he stayed up late. If I wanted to go somewhere, he wanted to go somewhere," said Merrill.
"The most thing I liked about Pickles was how he would put us to bed and if someone was here he would just lay next to us," said Emily Merrill.
Although Pickles won't be there anymore to lie next to them, the Merrill's hope their story makes their neighbors more cautious the next time they see a bear.
"They're way more dangerous than what you think they are," Merrill said.