POST FALLS - Steve Groves knew something was up when Dakota dashed into the woods, barking and hot on the trail of something.
After the yellow lab zoomed out of sight into an area where Groves spotted a hawk flying overhead on Tuesday morning, Groves realized his Yorkshire terrier named Cory was nowhere to be found on his 10-acre property on Blossom Mountain south of Post Falls.
Moments later, the hawk flew off and both Dakota and Cory retreated home, Groves said. Cory returned with cuts on both sides of his back and mid-section - a sign that a winged predator had swooped down on Cory with breakfast in mind.
Groves credits Dakota for saving Cory's life.
"Our dogs are very protective of each other," he said. "If it wasn't for Dakota, we wouldn't have Cory. Even if the hawk didn't get Cory off the ground, it would have eaten him there."
Groves said it was obvious to both he and Cory's veterinarian that a bird had latched onto the 7-pound Cory by the talons.
"You can see four spots where a bird grabbed on," Groves said, adding that Cory had stitches to stop the bleeding. "You could tell it wasn't from another animal - definitely claw marks."
Groves said hawks have been scouring his property for rabbits and mice, but this is the first time in eight years that any of Groves' three dogs have been attacked.
Groves said he and his wife generally let their three dogs, which also includes a Portugese water dog named Bentley, outside to exercise by themselves.
"We haven't had any problems and they stay together," said Groves, adding that Dakota does a good job of chasing animals off the property. "But sometimes Cory will follow his nose (and stray from the home)."
Groves said he keeps a closer eye on the smaller Cory because of coyotes. He doesn't believe the incident will cause him to make drastic changes with how he tends to his dogs.
"We could put him in a caged area, but we've lived here for eight years and haven't had many issues other than run-ins with raccoons and porcupines," Groves said. "You can only protect him so much. But we'll still definitely keep an eye on him."
Based on how Cory didn't want to go outside on Wednesday, Groves believes the Yorkie has been reminded of the value of sticking close to home.
"He looked pretty concerned," Groves said.
Groves said Dakota deserves a pat on the back for saving Cory, but there won't be extra treats.
"There won't be a special reward because she's rewarded every day," Groves said. "They can't be more spoiled than they are."