When she heard her dogs barking and taking off in the backyard, Hailey Mourinho thought a squirrel or a neighborhood pet had driven them away.
But the 17-year-old bear came face-to-face after he ran to investigate on Monday afternoon. And it was swiping at Valentina, the family’s little dog, and Mourinho’s “baby.”
Teenager’s split-second instinct? To push the bear.
“The first thing I think is to push, push a bear, push an apex predator,” she later recalled TIC Toc.
In a moment captured by security cameras in Bradbury, Calif., the teenager did just that – causing the animal to pull away from the brick wall where it was standing. Mourinco then snatched Valentina and escaped safely.
The video of the teenager’s bravura shadowed the internet after her cousin uploaded it to TikTok on Monday, saying, “My cousin Hailey removed a bear from his fence today and rescued his dogs. How was your Memorial Day?!”
By Tuesday, it was trending on Twitter and Mourinho was becoming a folk hero.
The clip was also trending alongside “Help the Bear” – a reference to the lyrics imagining an encounter between the man and the bear. “If you ever see me fighting with a grizzly bear in the woods,” the song goes, “help the bear!”
The teen’s fight with the bear turned into an action-packed 22 seconds, all recorded by cameras at his Los Angeles-area home.
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