Woman credits 2-year-old dog for saving her life during a mountain lion encounter while on nature hike

A woman survived a mountain lion encounter while on a nature hike — thanks to her loyal and brave dog, Eva.

Erin Wilson, 24, was hiking along Trinity River in Northwestern California with her two-year-old Belgian Malinois when they encountered the animal.

After pulling her pickup off the highway, Erin and Eva headed down the trail to the river. The dog was a few feet ahead and off her leash when a mountain lion hiding in the bushes suddenly jumped at Erin.

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The cat clawed her shoulder through her jacket, growing and rearing back as if to attack. Erin, a petite 115 pounds, stood no chance of fighting it.

She screamed for Eva, and the dog turned around and tackled the mountain lion. Despite the animal appearing sickly, Eva quickly found herself outmatched.

The creature clamped its fangs onto the dog’s skull and refused to let go even after Erin tried to hit it with rocks and her fists. She also tried getting her arm around its throat and gouging at its eyes, but it held on.

Eva the Belgian Malinois eating from a metal bowl injured while on nature hike
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Erin ran back to her truck and grabbed a tire iron. She flagged down a woman passing by on the highway and told her that a mountain lion had attacked her and that it had her dog. The stranger, Sharon Houston, grabbed a PVC pipe and pepper spray from her vehicle.

The two women ran down the trail and began beating the cat, yelling at it to get off. Eventually, the mountain lion just let go, and Eva ran off.

Erin gave Sharon a hug before hopping into her truck and driving to the vet, with Eva badly injured and bleeding on the seat beside her. The poor dog started convulsing while they were going down the hill.

“I was begging her the whole time,” Erin told The Sacramento Bee. “I was like, ‘Just stay with me, dog. I love you. I can’t live without you. Just don’t go. Don’t leave me.”

Eva the Belgian Malinois who saved her owner from a mountain lion encounter on nature hike
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When they arrived at the hospital, Eva was loaded on a stretcher and rushed inside for treatment. It was only then that Erin thought of having her own wounds treated. She only had a few bruises and scratches—thanks to Eva’s brave efforts.

Erin got Eva when the dog was about four months old. Her previous family had young kids, and they were overwhelmed by her.

“They’re really high drive, and they’re really intense,” Erin described the breed.

Luckily, she and Eva meshed. They often travel around the country and go on nature hike together with her fiancé, Connor.

Eva the Belgian Malinois about to be taken home by her owners
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“Eva is as close to a kid as she can come,” Erin said. “I raised her from when she was a little, little baby. And she’s always been really affectionate and really just a loving dog. And so, you know, you get a really close bond.”

Erin is forever grateful to her beloved dog for saving her life.

“If (Eva) had waited another second or two more, it probably would have either jumped up and bit me in the face, in the head and the neck,” she said.

As Eva recovered, Erin started getting a series of rabies shots as a precaution. She also set up a GoFundMe after leaving the hospital to get help for the dog’s vet bills.

Eva’s story of heroism while on nature hike made the national news, and donations soon started pouring in. Erin disabled the fundraiser when it reached $32,000 in contributions.

Eva the Belgian Malinois lying on her dog bed alongside her toys
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“Thanks to everyone’s generosity, we will be able to pay for Eva’s medical bills,” Erin wrote on the fundraiser’s page. “Any additional funds will go towards her after care, some very solid pampering, ensuring her safety and quality of life, my medical bills and a few charities of our choosing. We are looking at Malinois rescues, big cat rescues, and predator management groups.”

She also asked people for recommendations on any other worthy charitable organizations they could help.

Eva is now home and recuperating.

“Eva is doing well,” Erin wrote on Instagram, along with a photo of the dog. “She is resting a lot, she has a big appetite, and is returning to her old self.”

Learn more about their story in the video below.

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