A Labrador retriever named Ella is being hailed a hero after guarding her family from a mountain lion attack in Cedar Hills, Utah.
One Wednesday evening, Crystal Michaelis and her family were unwinding in their backyard when the 7-year-old hunting Labrador started acting protective while standing near the rock wall of the yard.
Initially, the family didn’t think much of Ella’s odd behavior. But when the dog started quickly glancing at the children and nudged one of them to get away, they decided to come inside the house.
“She was just being very cautious, and my daughter thought it was very concerning,” Crystal told KSL News.
Once the family was safely inside, an unseen encounter happened between Ella and a mountain lion—also called a cougar or a puma—in the backyard, where the family was relaxing just moments before.
“We opened the back door and found Ella just bloodied. There was blood all over the door and all over the patio,” Crystal recalled of the shocking scene.
“My older son immediately came out well we tried to come out and she wouldn’t even let us come out so she hurry and came in and she kept looking over to the one side of our house, and she came in and she kind of just collapsed,” said Crystal.
“I believe wholeheartedly that she was protecting them because it was within seconds that they came in, and this all happened,” the grateful pet owner told Fox 13 News.
Ella suffered severe cuts on her head, nose, tongue, legs, and neck from her fight with the cougar. She also had a concussion and over 30 bites on her body.
The dog’s vet told Crystal that all of her injuries were from the shoulders up, which means “she never let down and stayed in that protective stance and defend it.”
After receiving treatment for her injuries after the attack, the hero dog was sent home the following day.
The Pleasant Grove Police Department issued a warning to nearby citizens following news of Ella’s attack.
“According to [Utah Division of Wildlife Resources] officials, the dog that was attacked in Cedar Hills last night was in fact attacked by a mountain lion,” the department wrote on Facebook. “The dog is believed to have been attacked in the yard and not in the foothills.”
“Please be cautious while using the Murdock Canal. If you live in the northern end of Pleasant Grove,” the post continued. “Please be aware of your surroundings and know where small children are at all times. Please consider bringing pets indoors. Be safe out there.”
According to the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources (DWR) officers, it’s not uncommon to have mountain lions in the Cedar Hills area. Although they haven’t found the wild animal that attacked Ella, the authorities found the beast’s tracks in the yard where the fight occurred.
There are also goats in a nearby yard, and it’s possible that the cougar was after them.
“They’ve also seen deer wandering through this area and since deer are kind of the main food source for cougars, they will often follow where deer go,” said Faith Jolley, a DWR public information officer.
Ella’s family is eternally grateful to the brave dog for defending them with all her might.
“Definitely. She can’t be replaced. That’s for sure,” Crystal said. “She is our hero.”
Pumas can be found throughout Utah, usually in foothill and canyon areas and at times in valleys, according to the Utah wildlife program, “Wild Aware Utah.”
The program website advises readers to remove wildlife attractants from properties, including pet food and water sources, to prevent incidents with cougars. It states that children shouldn’t be left outside unattended, especially at dawn and dusk. Pets and livestock must also be brought inside at night or secured in a barn or kennel with a top.
Good job, Ella! We hope you are recovering well at home. Watch the video below to learn more about this dog’s heroic deed.