A Red Deer man punched what turned out to be a cougar to save his dog in Whitecourt near a Tim Hortons on Monday.
William Gibb, 31, said all he knew was that his five-year-old husky Sasha was being attacked and he reacted.
Gibb was meeting a friend before driving on to Grande Prairie to work, went through the drive-thru and was parked behind the restaurant where he let his two dogs out of his truck at about 6 p.m. Sasha went over to a row of trees and quickly started crying and howling.
“I run over there and I just see something wrapped around her,” said Gibb at home on Wednesday.
“I aimed for the thing’s head and punched as hard as I could. The cougar let go of her and backed away a little bit. I was a few inches away from it, then I noticed — that’s a cougar.”
Gibb said he was angry and ready to fight.
“It started backing up into the trees so I stepped over Sasha and continued to attack it. I went after it.”
He said he called out to his brother and his friend for help when he noticed Sasha rolling around and twitching. He scooped her up in his left arm and instinctively she bit him.
“She’s biting me. I’m trying to calm her. I’m trying to call for help and I’m trying to fight off this cougar. I’m swinging with my right (arm) and this thing keeps pawing at me,” said Gibb who had a small scratch on his wrist from the cougar.
Sasha runs off and his brother and friend go after her. Then Gibb sees the cougar making moves towards his other dog Mungo, a 10-year-old malamute.
“I had to get between him and the cougar and I start throwing punches again, nothing connecting just swinging, and kicking to keep its distance. And it was pawing at me to keep my distance.”
Gibb said when Mungo was safely back at the truck, he looked around for a weapon, found a branch on the ground, and went back to the cougar.
When someone yelled that Sasha was hurt, he ran back to the truck where Sasha was hiding beneath the vehicle. They coaxed her out and called a veterinarian and RCMP who were both located nearby.
“I think within five minutes they found the cougar within about 100 feet of where it attacked us and they managed to put the animal down,” said Gibb, an electrical technician.
Sasha had two serious lacerations to her chest from the cat’s claws and four puncture wounds on her neck.
“She’s a little overwhelmed with all the extra attention today, but she’s doing well. She’s eating. She’s going out, doing her normal things so starting to recover.”
Gibb was thankful for the quick response by Whitecourt RCMP and Dr. Jordan Bremmekamp, of Hilltop Veterinary Clinic in Whitecourt.