WYCKOFF, N.J. – If only Goldilocks had a cockapoo.
A 15-pound cocker spaniel-poodle mix named Pawlee scared off a mother bear and her two cubs Sunday morning after they strayed into his owners' backyard.
Whether his bark was worse than his bite, Pawlee's tactic worked just fine. These three bears got the hint and took off.
"We had just let him out for the morning and he ran into the yard and started barking his head off," owner Fran Osiason said.
Osiason said her 9-year-old son, Jacob, went outside to see what the commotion was about and came running back in to report there were bears in the yard.
She was worried that the mother would come after Pawlee to protect her cubs, but the pugnacious pup, just 8 months old, had other plans.
His barking drove the two cubs up a tree, and they eventually climbed down and hopped over a fence with their mother and retreated into the woods.
Osiason said she, her son, husband Andrew and daughter Eden, 6, have had Pawlee since he was about 8 weeks old. She marveled at his fearlessness.
"He's a little fur ball," she said.
Northern New Jersey seems to breed feisty pets: In 2006, a tabby cat named Jack chased a bear up a tree in his West Milford yard.
Bears are not uncommon in Wyckoff, but Osiason said her family has lived there for about 10 years and had not seen any until Sunday.
With Pawlee on guard, they might not see another one anytime soon.