A man who stopped along Route 1A in Dedham to let his puppy get out and pee ended up fighting off a bear.

Meeting up with a bear in the Maine woods doesn't seem all that unusual, until you factor in that it's barely mid-February, and the bears should be snoozing right about now. But that's what happened when Dustin Gray of Orrington took his 11-month-old puppy, Clover, for a quick walk in the woods of Dedham. Gray told the BDN that a black bear tore the leash from his hand while attacking the black lab/golden retriever mix. He reacted quickly, punching and kicking the bear to get it to release the dog. Gray said he even stuck his finger in the bear's eye and it finally ran off, knocking him over in the process.

Clover sustained multiple puncture wounds, and needs to see the vet daily to have her dressings changed. A week after the attack, Gray says it will be months before he knows just how badly the dog was hurt, and whether she'll come close to a full recovery.

So how does this happen, at a time of year when bears are typically hibernating? Game Wardens say it was a freak accident, and likely that the bear had been hibernating nearby. All the rain we've had recently probably woke the bear up and forced it out of the den, where it happened to cross paths with Clover.

Gray told the BDN that the pup has lost some feeling in one paw, and it's unclear whether she'll totally get it back. Here's hoping she makes a full recovery!