When Will Gibb’s beloved pooch was attacked by a cougar in a Tim Hortons parking lot, he didn’t stop to consider the danger he might be putting himself in.
Instead, the Red Deer man let his protective instincts take over and began punching the wild animal in the head.
“I wasn’t really analyzing too much at the time,” Gibb told CBC News. “All that was going through my mind is that I had to protect my dog.”
Gibb was grabbing coffee with a friend at the Tim Hortons in Whitecourt, Alberta, when he let his two dogs, Sasha and Mongo, out of his vehicle for a short run. Not long after, he heard Sasha yelping. He told reporters that when he heard her cry, he went running and saw something wrapped around her neck. It wasn’t until after he started punching the cougar that he realized what it was.
He managed to momentarily scare the cougar back into the woods at which point he headed toward Sasha, who was whimpering on the pavement, injured and bleeding.
But when Gibb approached her the cougar re-emerged from the woods and Sasha bit his left hand, likely because she was confused from all the excitement and mistook him for the cougar, he says.
“She was fighting for her life, and I was trying to keep the cougar at bay with my right, and it was pawing at me and I was throwing punches at it,” he said.
Eventually, Sasha let go of his hand and ran off, but Gibb still had to contend with the cougar, who was undeterred by his punches.
After Sasha ran off, Gibb noticed the cougar eyeing his other dog, Mongo, who was sniffing along the edge of the nearby forest. He quickly got between the cougar and his dog, swinging his fists and screaming at the cat harder than ever before. When the cougar let up, Gibb grabbed the biggest stick he could reach and used it to fight the cat, who eventually disappeared into the woods.
Sgt. Jack Poitras told reporters that he “wouldn’t recommend everybody wrassle with a cougar.” In this case, however, it worked out.
With the help of his friends, Gibb managed to get his two dogs back into his truck. Sasha, who was left with bite wounds around her neck and claw marks along her belly and under her armpits, was immediately taken to Hilltop Veterinary Clinic, which is only a block away from where the attack took place.
Sasha and Gibb, who also suffered deep claw marks on his arm, are now recovering, but the cougar has since been killed.
According to reports, local police consulted with Whitecourt Fish and Wildlife officials before locating and killing the wild cat in the nearby woods.