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BRITISH COLUMBIA – A man is thanking his dog for saving him from an attack by a protective mother bear.

Reid Roberts of British Columbia, Canada was running in the woods with his dog, Pacer Tuesday when they accidentally startled a mother bear and her two cubs, CBC reports.

“She didn’t hear us coming ans we didn’t know she was there,” said Roberts. “She had no choice but to immediately go into attack mode.”

Roberts said the bear knocked him to the ground and was swatting him. He desperately tried to protect himself while pinned on the ground.

Roberts says Pacer was fighting the bear from behind, barking and biting at the bear’s legs. Pacer managed to distract the bear long enough for him to crawl away and hide behind some bushes.

Then, the bear came rushing towards him a second time. By now, Roberts was bleeding badly.

Pacer dove at the bear again, this time leading her down a path, away from Roberts.

Pacer managed to get away unscathed, but Roberts had to get sixteen stitches.

“Pacer is my hero,” said Roberts. “He’s a great running partner.”

The female bear was euthanized by animal officials, and her cubs were transported to an animal sanctuary.