‘My dog is my hero.’ California woman says her dog saved her from attacking mountain lion

·3 min read

Erin Wilson knows her dog, Eva, is a very, very good girl.

On Monday, the 2½-year-old Belgian Malinois was badly wounded fighting with a mountain lion that had just attacked Wilson as the pair were out for an afternoon stroll along the Trinity River in far Northern California, Wilson told The Sacramento Bee Tuesday in a phone interview.

“I don’t think,” she said, “I will ever be able to live up to how amazing and loyal she is to me.”

Wilson, 24, lives in rural Trinity County, about four hours northwest of Sacramento. She said that after a stressful day, she and Eva hopped in her pickup and headed down to the Trinity River to relax and enjoy a peaceful afternoon alone.

Eva was only a few yards ahead, off leash and Wilson’s pickup was still in sight along Highway 299 when the mountain lion lunged for Wilson. The cat’s claws scratched her shoulder through her jacket. The cat was growling, looking as if it would pounce on the 115-pound woman. She called for help.

“I yelled ‘Eva!’ and she came running,” Wilson said. “And she hit that cat really hard.”

Weighing around 55 pounds, the dog was quickly outmatched by the cougar.

“They fought for a couple seconds, and then I heard her start crying,” Wilson said. “That’s when the cat latched on to her skull.”

Wilson said she began hitting the cougar with anything she could find — rocks, sticks, her fists. She tried to choke the cat with her arms and gouge its eyes, ending up scratched by the cat’s back paws as it tried to kick her off. Between the scratches and some bruises, they were only wounds Wilson said she received thanks to Eva.

But the cat wouldn’t let go, Wilson said. She ran back to her truck and pulled out a tire iron and flagged down a passing motorist, Sharon Houston, who told The Bee Tuesday she grabbed her own weapons — a four-foot length of PVC pipe and some pepper spray.

The pair ran down and began beating on the mountain lion, which had dragged the dog off the trail, Wilson said.

Eventually the cat let the dog go and it ran away after Houston sprayed it with the pepper spray, Houston said.

Eva ran back to the pickup, Wilson said.

Eva, the 2 1/2-year-old Belgian Malinois, was badly wounded fighting with a mountain lion that had just attacked her owner Erin Wilson as the pair were out for an afternoon stroll along the Trinity River on Monday. Eva is in stable condition but still at the emergency vet.
Eva, the 2 1/2-year-old Belgian Malinois, was badly wounded fighting with a mountain lion that had just attacked her owner Erin Wilson as the pair were out for an afternoon stroll along the Trinity River on Monday. Eva is in stable condition but still at the emergency vet.

Belgian Malinois recovers at vet

“At first I was like, ‘Wow, she’s OK,” Wilson said. “But when I looked at her closer, I realized she had a couple of puncture wounds in her face,” Wilson said. “And she just had a lot of blood coming out of her mouth.”

Wilson said she put the dog in the truck and raced as fast as she could to an emergency vet clinic an hour-and-a-half drive away in Redding, the largest city in the region. At one point the dog went into convulsions on the frantic drive, Wilson said.

For now, the veterinarians are working to to make sure that there’s no bleeding in her brain and that the pressure in her head is going down.

Wilson and her husband, Connor, visited the dog on Tuesday at the vet’s office. She said she’s hopeful Eva makes a complete recovery. In the meantime, she said she’s got plans for just how to say thanks to the dog.

“She really likes stuffed animals so we’re buying her a bunch of stuffies,” she said. “We’re going to get her a nice steak dinner. She’s going to get all sorts of treats for a while.”

On Tuesday, Wilson created a GoFundMe account to raise money to help pay for Eva’s vet bills. She wrote on the post she knows how lucky she is to have such a good girl.

“My dog is my hero,” Wilson wrote. “And I owe her my life.”

Erin Wilson is shown with her dog, Eva, the 2 1/2-year-old Belgian Malinois was badly wounded fighting with a mountain lion that had just attacked Wilson as the pair were out for an afternoon stroll along the Trinity River on Monday.
Erin Wilson is shown with her dog, Eva, the 2 1/2-year-old Belgian Malinois was badly wounded fighting with a mountain lion that had just attacked Wilson as the pair were out for an afternoon stroll along the Trinity River on Monday.

Mountain lion attacks woman in Northern California. Dog badly hurt trying to defend her

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