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 attack while on a nature hike — thanks to her loyal and brave dog, Eva.

Erin Wilson, 24, was hiking along the Trinity River in Northwestern California when she encountered the animal.

Eva and Erin pulled their pickup off the highway. They then headed down the trail towards the river. Erin was only a few yards ahead of Eva and the mountain lion in the bushes suddenly leapt at her.

Erin Wilson hugging her dog Eva on nature hike

The cat clawed at Erin’s shoulder, pulling her jacket through her. Erin, a tiny 115-pound cat, was unable to resist it.

Eva screamed for Eva and the dog turned around to face the mountain lion. Eva quickly became outmatched despite the animal’s sick appearance.

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 tried to get her arm around the throat of the creature and tugging at its eyes, but it refused to let go.

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

Erin ran back to the truck and grabbed a tire iron. She flagged down a woman who was passing on the highway, and informed her that a mountainlion had attacked Erin and that it had her dog. 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 gave Erin a hug, and Erin hopped into her truck to drive Eva to the vet. Eva was severely injured and was still bleeding on Eva’s seat. As they were heading down the hill, Eva began to convulse.

“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 on a stretcher to the hospital and rushed inside for treatment. Erin only then thought 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 she were able to get along. They often travel together with Connor, her fiance.

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 was able to recover and Erin began getting 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 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 asked for suggestions from others on charitable organizations 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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