Fearless dog saves a family seconds before mountain lion attack: ‘She is our hero’

Ella, a Labrador retriever, has been hailed as a hero for saving her family from an attack by mountain lions in Cedar Hills.

Crystal Michaelis was relaxing with her family in their backyard one Wednesday evening when her 7-year old hunting Labrador began acting protectively near the yard’s rock wall.

Initially, the family didn’t think much of Ella’s odd behavior. However, the family became more concerned when the dog began to glare at the children and nudged one to move away, and they decided to enter the house.


“She was just being very cautious, and my daughter thought it was very concerning,” Crystal told KSL News.

Once the family was safely inside, an unseen encounter happened between Ella and a mountain lion—also called a cougar or a puma—in the backyard, where the family was relaxing just moments before.

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“We opened the back door and found Ella just bloodied. There was blood all over the door and all over the patio,” Crystal recalled of the shocking scene.

A backyard with a swimming pool and rock wall

“My older son immediately came out well we tried to come out and she wouldn’t even let us come out so she hurry and came in and she kept looking over to the one side of our house, and she came in and she kind of just collapsed,” said Crystal.

“I believe wholeheartedly that she was protecting them because it was within seconds that they came in, and this all happened,” the grateful pet owner told Fox 13 News.

Due to her fight against the cougar, Ella sustained severe injuries to her neck, nose, tongue and lips. Ella also sustained a concussion as well as more than 30 bites.

The dog’s vet told Crystal that all of her injuries were from the shoulders up, which means “she never let down and stayed in that protective stance and defend it.”

A Labrador retriever with severe injuries on its head, nose, and legs after fighting off a mountain lion

After being treated for her injuries, the hero dog was released to her family the next day.

The Pleasant Grove Police Department issued a warning to nearby citizens following news of Ella’s attack.

“According to [Utah Division of Wildlife Resources] officials, the dog that was attacked in Cedar Hills last night was in fact attacked by a mountain lion,” the department wrote on Facebook. “The dog is believed to have been attacked in the yard and not in the foothills.”

“Please be cautious while using the Murdock Canal. If you live in the northern end of Pleasant Grove,” the post continued. “Please be aware of your surroundings and know where small children are at all times. Please consider bringing your pets indoors. Be safe out there.”

A family and a Labrador retriever in a backyard

According to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) officers, it’s not uncommon to have mountain lions in the Cedar Hills area. Although they haven’t found the wild animal that attacked Ella, the authorities found the beast’s tracks in the yard where the fight occurred.

There are also goats in a nearby yard, and it’s possible that the cougar was after them.

“They’ve also seen deer wandering through this area and since deer are kind of the main food source for cougars, they will often follow where deer go,” said Faith Jolley, a DWR public information officer.

Ella’s family is eternally grateful to the brave dog for defending them with all her might.

A Labrador retriever lying on the grass

“Definitely. She can’t be replaced. That’s for sure,” Crystal said. “She is our hero.”

Pumas can be found throughout Utah, usually in foothill and canyon areas and at times in valleys, according to the Utah wildlife program, “Wild Aware Utah.”

The website suggests that readers remove wildlife attractants from their properties, including pet food, water sources, and pet food, in order to avoid cougar incidents. It states that children shouldn’t be left outside unattended, especially at dawn and dusk. Animals and pets must be brought inside at night, or secured in a barn with a top.

Good job, Ella! We wish you a speedy recovery at home. Watch the video below to learn more about this dog’s heroic deed.

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