'Saved Her Life': Dog Badly Injured After Defending California Woman from Mountain Lion Attack


This dog is her owner’s best friend.

First responders are crediting the brave pup with saving her owner’s life after the California woman was attacked Monday by a mountain lion in rural Trinity County in the far north of the state.

“I think it’s safe to assume that dog probably saved her life,” said Capt. Patrick Foy of the Department of Fish and Wildlife, speaking to the Sacramento Bee.

22-year-old Erin Wilson was attacked by the big cat shortly after walking onto a river trail. The cat’s claws scratched her shoulder through her jacket.

With the beast continuing to growl, Wilson called for her dog, Eva, to save her.

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The brave pup, which was a few yards down the trail, came running back, fighting the cat for several seconds before the mountain lion grasped her head in its jaws.

Wilson began hitting the cat with sticks and rocks. But the mountain lion’s jaws wouldn’t free Eva.

Eventually, Wilson hailed a passing motorist on the nearby highway.

Would your dog do the same thing?

Sharon Houston used a PVC pipe and pepper spray she had in the vehicle against the cat, finally freeing the brave pup. The cat fled after being doused with the pepper spray.

Wilson rushed her dog to the nearest emergency care vet in Redding — an hour and a half away — immediately after the event.

Wilson recounted the attack in an interview shared on

Eva is a two-and-a-half-year-old Belgian Malinois.

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

Wilson has created a GoFundMe to help pay for the dog’s significant vet expenses after it came to her rescue. As of Thursday, more than $29,000 had been raised.

In the GoFundMe update, Wilson reported that Eva is in stable condition, but still in emergency care at the local vet.

“We visited her this evening,” she reported. “She walked up and climbed in our laps, was rubbing all over us. She felt really good tonight. We got to take her outside in the grass. She was so happy. When we headed back in there was pep in her step.
“Her left eye is consensually reactive to light, but there’s no reaction to direct light. Punctures are closing well. All of them missed any brain. She has one in her sinus and a few in her cheeks.
“She has two fractures: one above and one below her eye, so her vision issues could all be due to swelling. Only time will tell on that one.
“So far the plan is for her to come home tomorrow. She gets a soft food diet, and in five days she will have a checkup.”

Belgian Malinois are similar in size and appearance to German shepherds. They’re bigger dogs, but far from equipped to take on a big cat.

Wilson received a few scratches and bruises, but the dog incurred more serious injuries.

Mountain lions usually aren’t aggressive toward humans. But they can attack in rare circumstances, and fatalities from mountain lions aren’t unprecedented.

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