Dog Owner Saved 14-Pound Yorkie From Cougar's Mouth, Warns Owners

A woman successfully rescued her 14-pound Yorkie after it was attacked by a cougar during a routine walk near British Columbia's Port Hardy.

On February 24, Jessica Shaw and her friend Diane were on their regular after-work walk when Shaw's one-and-a-half-year-old Yorkie Oakey was attacked by a cougar.

British Columbia has the largest cougar population in the world, the University of Victoria reports. The Conservation Officer Service receives more than 2,500 calls a year from people thinking they spotted a cougar–although many reports turn out to be a different animal.

While cougar attacks are considered "rare," experts recommend staying calm and never running from a cougar in the wild.

"Make yourself look as large as possible and back away slowly, keeping the cougar in view, and allowing a clear exit for the cougar," the British Columbia Conservation Foundation said. "If attacked, always fight back and never "play dead". If traveling with small children, pick them up immediately."

Shaw said during the walk, she could see a big cougar attempting to jump into a tree with Oakey in its mouth. She told local news outlets that the cougar tried to get up the tree three times but was unsuccessful.

The cougar dropped Oakey at the bottom of the tree as the two women ran toward the large cat, screaming loudly. Shaw described finding Oakey "crumpled on the ground covered in blood."

The trail, which Diane said the two friends have walked "100 times," is considered a beginner route that spans 2.4 miles and takes a little more than an hour to complete.

After the cougar dropped Oakey, Shaw grabbed him and ran the half-hour back to the car with him in her arms. Since there was no nearby vet, the emergency vet from another city drove 3.5 hours to meet her.

Oakey, who surprisingly survived the attack, suffered three skull fractures, a bone fragment pushing on his brain, and had a punctured retina. It was determined the cougar bit directly through Oakey's left eye.

He received both a "high-risk" craniotomy to remove the skull fragment and another surgery to remove his left eye.

Shaw and Diane spent two days at the animal hospital before they were able to bring Oakey home, according to a GoFundMe that was set up on March 6 to help pay for Oakey's veterinary bills.

"Please send healing energy to Oakey. He has been the most bravest boy throughout this entire nightmare," Diane wrote in the GoFundMe. "Much calmer & tougher than me."

Oakey's veterinary bills have so far totaled more than $13,000 for his brain surgery and left eye removal.

In an update on the GoFundMe, Shaw wrote that Oakey is healing well and hasn't whimpered or cried once.

"He's been so tough," she wrote.

Newsweek reached out to the British Columbia Conservation Foundation but did not receive comment in time for publication.

Owner saved dog from cougar
A dog owner saved her 14-pound Yorkie from a cougar during a routine hike. While the dog survived the attack, the canine sustained several serious injuries that resulted in $13,000 of medical bills. JohnPitcher/iStock