RUMSON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – A dog owner in New Jersey almost lost his precious pet.

The dog narrowly escaped a near-deadly attack – by a hawk.

As CBS2’s Dana Tyler reported, Chris Gooch isn’t going to be letting his bulldog, Phoebe, out of his sight for a long time after what happened earlier this week.

“She’s lucky to be alive,” he said.

Gooch says Phoebe was in their front yard Tuesday when a hawk swooped down and tried to snatch up the 4-year-old dog.

“I was inside, and she came in through the doggy door bleeding and came right up to me. And I was like, ‘I need help,’” he said.

The hawk couldn’t quite lift Phoebe, because she’s too heavy, but instead dragged her across their driveway, badly injuring her, and then flew away.

“This cut right here is apparently a centimeter away from her femoral artery. And if it hit that, she probably would have died,” said Gooch. “She would have bled out pretty quick, apparently.”

Local veterinarian Dr. Greg Heins said this happens more often in the winter season, because there are fewer leaves on the trees, giving hawks and other birds better vantage points.

“The bird of prey is up there looking, and they see something small, and maybe they mistake it for a rabbit or a squirrel, and it’s there, and they just swoop down,” he said. “It’s instincts.”

He warns all small dog owners to never leave their pets alone outside at this time of year.

“Especially with the dogs under 25 pounds,” he said. “The Frenchie was unusual, but it just goes to show you the strength of some of these birds.”

Gooch is just grateful his bulldog is just as strong, if not tougher, and will make a full recovery.

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