Weimeraner survives cougar attack
A weekday rendezvous with Mother Nature gave a group of California hikers much more than they expected. What started out as a pleasant mountain jaunt for a four-year-old weimeraner and her owner in Oakhurst, California went south very quickly when they came face-to-face with a mountain lion. On Feb. 19, Candace Gregory was hiking with friends in the Sierra National Forest with her dog Sally. As Gregory tells it, she and her friends were about 30 feet behind her dog when she saw "a flash of something tannish".

Before it could even register, the big cat had Sally's head in it's jaws and it's paws wrapped around the pooch's body. Fellow hiker Rick Lawin said he heard a "blood curdling screaming sound of an animal in its death throes." He ran up and started hitting the mountain lion with his hiking stick, to help out Sally and protect his fellow hikers. That worked, because the hungry animal dropped the dog and jumped into the trees. They estimate that the big cat must have weighed at least 120 pounds.

They got Sally back to the car and rushed her over to a vet in Fresno, who reports the weimie had claw and bite marks all over her chest and legs, with a huge wound on her head. Sally had numerous stitches and a drainage tube placed in her head.

The group was very lucky. Had it not been for that hiking stick, Sally may not have lived through the attack. According to, in previous big cat attacks, people have utilized rocks, jackets, garden tools, tree branches, walking sticks, fanny packs and even bare hands to turn away the cats. They also did the right thing in slowly backing away from the cat. That's another of the recommendations listed right on the website, which also says you should make yourself seem as large as possible, open your jacket, yell, throw things, but don't turn away. Maintain eye contact and act like another predator.

They're also thankful they carried a cell phone to call ahead, a necessity any time you're communing with nature. A spare battery or portable charger is also recommended, and make sure it's charged. Sally will recover but won't be going on any hikes for several weeks; and the next time they go hiking, she'll remain leashed.