Imagine Seeing a Bear and Running Toward It

It may look like Morinico bends down to pray for safety, but it is, in fact, the bear that needs saving. Photo: @bakedlikepie/Instagram

What have you done for your dogs today? Have you saved them from a bear? No? Well then, 17-year-old Hailey Morinico has you beat. A recent viral video, captured on home-surveillance footage, shows Morinico fighting off a literal bear in order to protect her dogs outside her house in Los Angeles County. To Morinico’s four dogs, Wednesday, Sparkles, Valentina, and T.J.: Your mommy loves you very much.

The video starts with the mother bear and her two cubs walking on the ledge of a fence outside Morinico’s home. The four dogs start barking and running toward the bears, as dogs are wont to do. While the cubs run off, the mother bear paws one dog and then proceeds to grab another, the littlest dog, Valentina. “She was literally off of the ground,” Morinico said on Good Morning America, “and I had to do what I had to do. So I knelt down and I had about two seconds to think, and the first thing that popped into my head was to push the bear off the ledge.” And so, she did. She pushed the bear causing it to stumble off the ledge and eventually run off.

On TikTok, Morinico said she just followed her instinct which told her to “push a bear, push an apex predator, man,” she said. Push an apex predator, indeed. She added that she didn’t try to push the bear very hard: “I just pushed her enough to make her lose her balance.”

“Honestly, I did not know it was a bear until right after I pushed it,” Morinico told GMA. “I didn’t know I had it in me to be honest. Who does that? Who in their right mind pushes a bear?” A fair question.

Fortunately, all parties left the encounter safe and sound. “I couldn’t fall asleep, thinking of the horrible possibilities that could have happened,” Morinico’s mom told Today. “Thankfully, nothing did.” Morinico’s fight with the bear left her unscathed save for a sprained finger.

Her advice to aspiring dog heroes and potential ursine fighters? “Do not push bears,” she told local TV station KTLA. “Don’t do what I did. You might not have the same outcome.”

Imagine Seeing a Bear and Running Toward It