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, Northwestern California, with her Belgian Malinois, 2 years old, when they came across the animal.

Eva and Erin drove down the trail to the river after Erin pulled her pickup off of the highway. Erin was just a few feet ahead of the mountain lion, and Eva was free to walk her dog.


The cat grabbed Erin’s shoulder and gnawed at her jacket, growinglues and rearing as if to attack. Erin, who weighed in at 115 pounds, had no chance of stopping it.

Eva cried out for her, and the dog turned and confronted the mountainlion. Eva was quickly outmatched, despite the animal looking sick.

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 to wrap her arm around its throat, grabbing at its eyes, but it refused.

Eva the Belgian Malinois eating from a metal bowl injured while on nature hike

Erin ran back home to her truck, where she grabbed a tire roller. She stopped by a woman walking along the highway to tell her that a mountainlion had attacked her, and that her dog was with it. Sharon Houston, a stranger, grabbed a PVC pipe from her car and pepper spray.

The two women ran down the trail, beating the cat and shouting at it to stop. Eva ran away after the mountain lion finally let go.

Sharon was hugged by Erin before she got in her truck and drove to the vet. Eva was badly injured and was bleeding on the seat next to her. The poor dog began to convulse as they were moving 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

Eva was taken to the hospital on a stretcher, and they were rushed in for treatment. Erin was just then able to think of having her wounds treated. She only had a few bruises and scratches—thanks to Eva’s brave efforts.

Eva was just four months old when Erin adopted her. Her family had young children and were overwhelmed by Eva’s arrival.

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

Eva and Eva were able to marry. 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

“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 for her beloved dog, who saved 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.

Eva began to recover, so Erin began to get rabies shots. 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 ended the fundraiser after it had reached $32,000 in donations.

Eva the Belgian Malinois lying on her dog bed alongside her toys

“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 sought out recommendations from people on other charitable organizations that they could support.

Eva is now recovering at home.

“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.”

See the video below to learn more about their story.

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