BLACK MOUNTAIN, N.C. (CBS Local) – A woman in North Carolina says her family’s dog died a hero after he managed to save them from a bear that wandered into their home.

Pickles, a small five-pound pup, was about to head out into Tiffany Merrill’s yard in Black Mountain when a bear burst through the open sliding glass door on Aug. 31. “I thought I was gonna die,” Merrill told WLOS. “I started yelling for my kids. ‘Shut your doors! Shut your doors! There’s a bear in the house!'”

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That’s when the small dog jumped into action to protect his owner. Pickles “started barking and got the bear’s attention and got the bear outside and he saved my life,” the North Carolina mother said, via WYMT.

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Unfortunately, the violent bear attacked Pickles once he lured it out of Merrill’s home. “I wanted to go out there and jump on the back of the bear and save my dog,” the woman said about watching the bear fatally injure her pet.

Merrill’s daughter, Emily, says the heroic pup always seemed to put the family to bed at night and was a constant companion when someone was home to lay next to.

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The family told reporters they hope their tragedy makes people more aware of how dangerous roaming bears can be.