Hero pet dog saves California hiker attacked by mountain lion: ‘She’s a fighter, clearly’

‘My dog is my hero and I owe her my life’

Stuti Mishra
Wednesday 18 May 2022 08:42
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<p>Erin Wilson with two-and-a-half-year-old Eva who fought off a mountain lion </p>

Erin Wilson with two-and-a-half-year-old Eva who fought off a mountain lion

A California woman viciously attacked by a mountain lion said her pet dog saved her life by jumping in her defence and picking up a fight with the dangerous wildcat.

Erin Wilson, who lives in rural Trinity County near Sacramento, was taking an afternoon stroll on Monday near the river in the Big Bar picnic area with her dog Eva, when a mountain lion lunged at her.

The mountain lion injured Ms Wilson’s left shoulder through her jacket, she told The Sacramento Bee newspaper.

Ms Wilson panicked and called Eva, a two-and-a-half-year-old Belgian Malinois, who came running to her.

“She hit that cat really hard,” Ms Wilson told the local media outlet on Tuesday.

The Sacramento resident said Eva weighs 55 pounds (25kg) and was easily outclassed by the big cat.

Mountain lions are known for having sharp claws and powerful bites that are capable of killing animals and humans in a single move, but Ms Wilson said her dog fought fiercely and sustained severe injuries trying to protect her.

“They fought for a couple seconds, and then I heard her start crying,” Ms Wilson wrote in a separate account that was posted on a GoFundMe page created for Eva, who is still battling severe injuries.

“For the next several minutes I tried everything I could to free her,” she wrote.

The cougar had bit the dog’s head and wouldn’t let go, even after Ms Wilson attacked the animal with rocks, sticks and her fists, tried to choke it and gouge out its eyes, she told the Bee.

The mountain lion tried to kick Ms Wilson off, scratching her with its back paws. Ms Wilson said she ran back to her pickup truck, grabbed a tire iron and flagged a passing car.

Sharon Houston, who drove the car, told the Bee that she grabbed a long length of PVC pipe and pepper spray.

The women began attacking the mountain lion, which had dragged the dog off the trail.

The lion fled after Ms Houston used pepper spray, she told the outlet.

While Ms Wilson was treated for non-life-threatening scratches, scrapes and bruises, Eva is still struggling with severe injuries.

Ms Wilson says Eva is a perfectly healthy dog otherwise.

“The trip to the vet was about an hour, and midway through Eva began convulsing for several minutes at a time,” wrote Ms Wilson.

“I didn’t think she’d make it every time it started up. Fortunately she pulled through and received urgent treatment.”

Wilson’s husband, Connor Kenny, told online news portal SFGATE that Eva had two skull fractures, a punctured sinus cavity and severe damage to her left eye. The dog’s seizures, however, stabilised overnight.

“We are hopeful she will pull through this,” Mr Kenny wrote. “She’s a fighter, clearly.”

The dog’s condition was being monitored, said a statement from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Wildlife officers have collected samples from the wounds for DNA analysis and authorities will try to trap the cougar, the department added.

Ms Wilson said she hopes Eva will recover, with donations to her GoFundMe page created to raise money for Eva, having gone above the $7,500 goal created.

Ms Wilson has already planned on how to thank Eva: with new stuffed toys and a steak dinner.

“She is still not out of the woods, she is heavily sedated until we can be sure the pressure in her head is reduced,” she wrote on the page. “My dog is my hero and i owe her my life.”

“I don’t think I will ever be able to live up to how amazing and loyal she is to me,” Ms Wilson told the Bee.

With inputs from agencies

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