Home News Hero Dog Named ‘Lady’ Dies Protecting Children from Mountain Lion Attack

Hero Dog Named ‘Lady’ Dies Protecting Children from Mountain Lion Attack

by Atlanta Business Journal

The Havens family has lived in their Idaho Springs home in Colorado for nine years in relative peace. But that sense of familiar security was shattered on June 14 when a wild animal sneaked into their yard and attacked.

The family’s four young kids (4, 7, 8 and 11) were playing on the backyard playset and dad was out working on the car when the family’s 3-year-old dog Lady snapped to attention.

Always keeping a keen eye on the children, the dog was the first to know something was wrong.

The Chihuahua/pit bull mix started barking, and that’s when the dad spotted the mountain lion.

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“I heard my husband screaming, ‘Get in the house now’ and my kids crying, ‘Wolf!’” mom Virginia Havens, 37, told Today. “I had a surreal moment where I thought, ‘Am I seeing what I think I’m seeing?’”

As she watched, their “small but mighty” dog, just 50 pounds, squared off with the giant cat that appeared about five times bigger. After circling each other they started to fight.

Mom threw anything she could find through the window to try to break up the fight. Dad called 911. The children screamed, cried and prayed as their brave little dog did its best to fend off the much larger cat.

Within about 5 minutes, officers arrived and began firing on the cat with bean bag guns. After hitting the cougar twice, they managed to scare it off, and the 20-minute scuffle was ended.

While Lady was still standing, she was not doing well.

“She was bloody and had a hole in her skull,” Havens said. “As she got closer, I could see her right eye bulging and she had labored breathing. … She had three holes in her skull and the underside of her snout was punctured, which is why she couldn’t breathe well. Doctors couldn’t guarantee she’d live through the night.”

So, together, the family came to the sad realization that their time with Lady had come to an end, and that the most humane thing they could do was let their brave little hero go peacefully.

“The kids were in a puddle of tears but seeing Lady like that also helped them understand the reason to let her go,” Havens said. “We said goodbye and kissed Lady and thanked her.”

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“Her injuries were just too severe,” Havens told The Seattle Times. “I just kissed her and thanked her, and we let her go.”

Park rangers told the family that the cat was unlikely to return since it hadn’t made a successful kill, but that still hasn’t helped the Havens feel much safer after the attack.

Despite the new fear they have, realizing how easy it was for the mountain lion to get into their yard, they are moving forward. They have a new puppy named Boaz, and a framed photo of Lady now graces their home.

Mayor Chuck Harmon even recognized Lady’s courage.

“You can imagine a diminutive dog going against a full grown mountain lion,” Harmon said. “What a brave dog. It gave its life protecting those family members. Had that mountain lion gotten a hold of one of the children, it would’ve been a very tragic outcome.”

Havens also recognized that without their fierce four-legged companion, “it would’ve been a completely different type of tragedy.”

“She was a true loving warrior from the day we got her to the time that we had to let her go,” she said.

“Lady was our little angel. She was a warrior.”

Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she’s strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.

As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn’t really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she’s had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children’s books with her husband, Edward.

Location

Austin, Texas

Languages Spoken

English und ein bißchen Deutsch

Topics of Expertise

Faith, Animals, Cooking

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