An 11-year-old dog is lucky to be alive after a mountain lion attacked her while she was out on a hike with her family. The big cat had clamped its jaws over the dog's head and was dragging her away when the dog's guardian was able to scare the cat away.
Lu Krueger-Andersen and her friend were hiking with Heidi, a beagle-foxhound mix, in the upper Fryingpan Valley, east of Basalt in Colorado on Saturday. Heidi was on-leash the entire trek, but when they stopped for lunch near a creek, she was allowed off leash.
Just as they were getting ready to leave, Heidi dashed down the trail before she was releashed and that's when the cat attacked. The cat had probably been tracking the hikers, waiting for an opportune time to strike.
"Lu watched her go around the bend and then heard an awful sound," said husband Paul Andersen.
The mountain lion had grabbed hold of Heidi's head in its powerful jaws and was dragging Heidi off the trail and toward a ravine. Heidi struggled to break free. She was digging in her feet and resisting being pulled when Lu sprung into action.
"Lu, without thinking, just reacted like a tiger mom, as I call it," Andersen said. Grabbing her hiking poles, Lu clanged them above her head, screamed at the top of her lungs and and barreled towards the cat. The mountain lion was so startled it let go of Heidi and ran away.
Heidi was so terrified she ran several miles back to the trailhead with the women running after her.
When they caught up to her, they rushed her to an emergency veterinary clinic in Basalt. She was "a bloody mess" and was diagnosed with a fractured skull and two puncture wounds atop her head and one beneath her jaw.
Unfortunately, the attack may have caused some brain damage and blindness in one eye. Heidi has refused to eat since the attack, so the family has had to force feed her a mix of her canned dog food and medications. Despite her injuries and ill health, the family still hopes that she will recover.
On Thursday morning, Heidi was resting comfortably in a favorite, sunny spot outside the family's home.
The family is circumspect about the attack, but say the attack drove home how important it is to keep a dog on leash at all times in wilderness areas. "The leash thing is not only a courtesy and a regulation in some places, it's a life saver for any pet that could be prey," Anderson said.
It's also one of the risks one takes living near the wilderness. "This could have happened in our back yard,” he said. "A cat could have taken her any time."
via the Aspen Times