Learn how one dog's act to defend owner from mountain lion spurred a community

The Detroit News

A fundraising effort to help a dog described as a hero when she jumped in to defend her owner from a mountain lion and was critically injured has raised more than $25,000 from those who say the story touched their heart.

Erin Wilson, who lives in Trinity County, California, about four hours northwest of Sacramento, drove to the Trinity River for an afternoon walk with Eva, her 2 1/2-year-old Belgian Malinois when she encountered a mountain lion, which lunged at her and scratched her left shoulder through her jacket, she told the Sacramento Bee on Tuesday.

She yelled for Eva, who was a few yards ahead of her. Eva, all 55 pounds, sprang into action, "and she hit that cat really hard," Wilson said.

Erin Wilson's pet Belgian Malinois, Eva, whom she credits with saving her after being attacked by a mountain lion.

"They battled for a few moments until i heard her cry," Wilson said on GoFundMe page. "The cat had her by the left side of her head."

Wilson, 24, said she tried "everything i could to free her," finally running to her vehicle for a weapon and flagging down help from a woman named Sharon. Together, she said, "we beat the cat while yelling until my dog was let go."

She rushed her to a veterinarian about an hour away. During the ride, the dog began convulsing. "I didn't think she'd make it every time it started up," Wilson said on the GoFundMe page.

Eva has two fractures to her skull, a puncture in her sinus cavity and swelling around her left eye, Wilson said.

"My dog is my hero and i owe her my life," Wilson said. The vet was optimistic about Eva's recovery. Wilson said the money will be used for Eva's medical bills and aftercare, then to animal charities.

The story drew animal lovers who marveled at the dog-human bond.

Wilson's mom and dad gave $500, thanking Eva "for saving our precious daughter and to Erin for saving their amazing Eva ... you saved each other, the ultimate gift."

A sixth grade class from James McKee Elementary School in Elk Grove, California, compared the incident to the scenario involving Billy and his two hunting dogs in "Where the Red Fern Grows" by Wilson Rawls. 

"We did not want anything bad to happen to Billy or his dogs. Furthermore, we do not want anything bad to happen to you or Eva," the students wrote.