An Alberta man has undoubtedly earned the “Boyfriend of the Year” award.
He won this not by planning a romantic vacation, showering his sweetheart in flowers, or sitting through a binge-watching session of Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix.
No, Elvis Xerri is Boyfriend of the Year because he wrestled a cougar. In his underwear. To save his girlfriend’s dog.
On Monday, April 13, Xerri and his girlfriend Jacqui were asleep in their home in Priddis—a hamlet situated just southwest of Calgary—when he heard Jacqui’s Bernese mountain dog, Boomer, yelping at 3 a.m. The nine-year-old dog was sleeping outside underneath the couple’s open window when Xerri heard the commotion.
Dressed only in his underwear, Xerri raced outside to find a cougar attacking the dog.
“I was thinking it was a coyote attacking him. But it was the largest cougar I’ve ever seen, on top of the dog,” Xerri told the National Post.
Before this week, Xerri had seen lynx, bears, and coyote on the property, but never a cougar.
He threw himself on top of the cougar, wrestling it away from Boomer. He grabbed its scruff, and heaved the cat some five or six feet away. But the cat was feisty, and charged back at Boomer and dragged Boomer by his head into the forest.
Xerri pounced again, screaming hysterically. His screams scared the cougar off and it ran away from Xerri and Boomer. Amazingly, both survived the attack with only a few scratches and bruises.
“We took [Boomer] to the hospital and he just had some teeth marks on his skull from where the cougar was trying to drag him,” Xerri said. “I was worried about Jacqui. She’s not used to the country, and if she lost her dog that way, it would be really traumatic.”
Xerri plans to report the incident to Alberta Fish and Wildlife, noting that he’s thankful that his two children, a 12-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter, weren’t attacked.
According to Dan Laville, a department spokesperson with Alberta Fish and Wildlife, there have been two “livestock predation” instances in the Priddis area over the past few months.
In an emailed interview with the National Post, Laville said residents who live in areas known for bears and cougars should always carry bear spray, keep dogs leashed, and travel in groups.
“Never run away from cougars or show fear by screaming. Always fight back and never give up if a cougar makes contact,” Laville said.
As for Xerri, he’s just happy his family and Boomer are safe.
“It scared the crap out of me. I can’t believe I did that. Would I do it again? For sure, because I wouldn’t want to be a bystander. Was it smart? Probably not the smartest thing I’ve ever done.”
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