We recently had a good chuckle at the dog that got itself comically trapped in its backyard in urban Japan. As silly as that Shiba inu may have looked though, the breed isn’t all poorly-thought-out curiosity and exploration-related hijinks. Recently, a Shiba in Akita Prefecture earned some positive publicity for its kin by saving its young owner from a bear.

On the evening of June 21, a five-year-old boy, his 80-year-old great-grandfather, and the family’s six-year-old Shiba hopped into the man’s truck and left their home in Odate City. With the humans sitting up front and the dog, named Mego, riding in the cargo bed, the group headed to a nearby dry riverbank to take the dog for a walk.

Since they’re frequent visitors to the area, as soon as the truck stopped, the boy made a dash for the riverbank. The man went around to the back of the vehicle to untie Mego, who immediately darted after her young owner.

Not long after, the man heard Mego start to bark loudly. “She usually doesn’t do that sort of thing,” the great-grandfather commented, and so he turned to the direction of the commotion, only to see his great-grandson crying and running back towards the truck. Behind the child he could make out a bear, about one meter (3.3 feet) in length, running off into the woods after being scared off by the family pet.

The boy’s clothes were torn, and he had cuts along his back and posterior. After loading Mego into the truck, the man rushed the child to the hospital, where thankfully his wounds were declared minor and he was able to go home within the day.

Needless to say, Mego’s owners are extraordinarily pleased with their Shiba, and have rewarded her with “meat and praise.” But even though the dog and the boy, being just a year apart in age, have essentially grown up together, they’re still a little surprised at her sudden act of bravery. “She’s usually quiet and timid,” they say of the dog, whose name comes from megoi, a word in the dialect of the Tohoku region (of which Akita is a part) that means “cute.”

Given her recent feat, though, we think “tough” is the more accurate way to describe Mego.

Sources: Sports Hochi, Jin