SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Eva, the dog credited for saving her owner’s life after she was attacked last month by a mountain lion in rural Northern California, died unexpectedly Wednesday morning.

In a brief interview by phone, Eva’s owner, Erin Wilson, said Eva, a 2 1/2-year-old Belgian Malinois, started getting wobbly and having seizures over the weekend at their home in Trinity County.

Wilson was told Eva needed special emergency care after rushing her to a Redding veterinarian.

Wilson took her to the animal hospital at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. There, Eva’s condition deteriorated to the point her veterinarians attempted to put her on a ventilator Wednesday morning.

“She just never woke up,” Wilson told The Sacramento Bee as she started to sob. “She never woke up.”

Wilson said she and her fiance, Connor Kenny, were taking the dog’s body to Sacramento Wednesday morning.


“We’re bringing her to Connor’s parents to bury her in the yard,” Wilson said. “Because she really loved it there.”

Wilson sent a follow-up text message a few hours later.

“She’s resting in the dirt, looking over the pool she loved to play in,” she said. “She’s at peace. She won’t ever have to fight again.”

Eva’s sudden death came as a shock since she appeared to be doing so well after her May 16 battle with a mountain lion — a documented attack that became an international news story.

On Wednesday, Wilson broke the news on Eva’s Instagram account, which had grown to 20,300 followers after the attack.

“Goodbye my beautiful sweet girl,” Wilson wrote. “You are my world, my light, my best friend. The world is a much darker place.”

A battle that made Eva a hero

Wilson said Eva came to her rescue while the two were on a hike along the remote Trinity River in Northwestern California on the afternoon of May 16. Trinity County is about a four-hour drive northwest of Sacramento.


Wilson had just pulled her pickup off Highway 299 west of the town of Weaverville and headed down the trail to the river.

Eva was a few feet ahead of her and off leash, when a mountain lion that had been hiding in some bushes along the trail jumped up and clawed Wilson’s shoulder through her jacket, Wilson said. The cougar growled and reared back as if it was going to attack Wilson, who’s 24 and 115 pounds.

Wilson screamed “Eva!” and the dog turned around and tackled the cat. The battle quickly became one-sided despite the cougar appearing to be sickly. It latched its fangs onto Eva’s head and wouldn’t let go. Wilson tried to strangle it and hit it with rocks and her fists but it wouldn’t release its grip on the dog.

She ran up to the road, flagged down a passing motorist and the two beat on the cat with a PVC pipe and a tire iron and hit it with pepper spray. It let go. Wilson rushed Eva to VCA Asher Animal Hospital in Redding, where the dog would spend the next three days before being sent home.

Wilson has no doubt Eva saved her life.

“If (Eva) had waited another second or two more, it probably would have either jumped up and bit me in the face, in the head and the neck,” Wilson told The Sacramento Bee after Eva went home from the vet in Redding late last month following the attack.

After the attack, 963 people donated to a GoFundMe account that raised $35,154 to help pay for Eva’s medical bills. Wilson said last month she was planning to donate what money she didn’t spend on her and Eva’s treatment to charity. Wilson suffered only scratches and bruises but she did need rabies shots as a precaution.


Meanwhile, Department of Fish and Wildlife officials used DNA from samples taken off Eva and Wilson to prove that animal that attacked them was indeed a mountain lion.

Wildlife officials were trying to trap the mountain lion after the attack. Department of Fish and Wildlife officials haven’t announced that they’ve caught the cougar.

If the cat ends up getting caught, biologists will use the DNA to confirm it’s the same animal before deciding whether to kill it. A spokesperson for the Department of Fish and Wildlife couldn’t immediately be reached for comment Wednesday.

Despite thousands of mountain lions sharing California with 39 million people, there have only been around 20 confirmed cougar attacks in California over the past four decades. Three have been fatal.