NESQUEHONING, Pa. — Jessica Aungst was still asleep early Monday morning when her husband David let their three dogs out the back door. He didn't realize that a mother bear and her cub were sitting by a tree in front of their home along Park Avenue in Nesquehoning.
The family's black lab could sense something immediately.
"Maverick walked around our backyard and around our pool, and all of a sudden, just started darting to our front tree right here," Jessica Aungst said.
Security camera footage shows what happened next. The bear chased Maverick underneath the front porch, attacking him.
"Maverick tried to get underneath, and then the lattice just broke and gave way," Aungst said.
Maverick ran from the bear, heading towards the rear of the home, leading the bear right to the family's Pomeranian and Poodle mix named Cooper.
David Aungst heard a commotion and rushed out to the back porch. He looked over the railing to see 12-pound Cooper underneath the bear's paw. He turned and yelled at the bear.
When Aungst bent over took a look under the porch, video shows the bear lunging towards him from just behind the railing.
The bear ran into the woods as Cooper escaped.
With the bear gone, the family's attention turned to their dogs.
"We were focused on Cooper because we knew at that point that he was attacked," Aungst said. "He was bleeding, so we decided to try to stop the bleeding on him. Then we realized that there was blood on our dresser in our bedroom, and we noticed that Maverick was also injured."
Maverick was scratched and clawed under his belly and required 11 staples. Cooper was cut as well and needed three.
Aungst said she's seeing bears about three times per week. They spotted another mother bear and three cubs in their tree Thursday night.
"We are in the woods, so we expect it, but unfortunately, it's becoming kind of a nuisance at this point that there's so many," she said.
Aungst has been in contact with the Pennsylvania Game Commission about the issue. She doesn't want to see anyone else get hurt.
"This could have been a child; it could have been my husband," she said. "The bear did lunge at him. He was inches away from the bear."
Maverick and Cooper are on their way to recovery, and the family is far more cautious, hoping to avoid another run-in with one of nature's most powerful creatures.