After almost being killed by a mountain lion on the front porch of his home in rural Crook County, “Odin” – a 15-pound terrier – truly lives up to his Norse god name.
He was born with both eyes, and still had them when his owners named him Odin. But now, just like the old pagan deity he’s named after, Odin has only one eye. His left eye popped out of its socket during a mountain lion attack in October. And although veterinarians were able to save his life, they couldn’t save his eye.
“Did we jinx him (by naming him Odin) or is that what saved him?” owner Krissy Hoese asked, rhetorically, of Cowboy State Daily.
Nightly Routine Turns Terrifying
Hoese and her husband, Todd, moved into their rural home about a year ago. They knew there were mountain lions about. Another area resident and a friend of theirs, Mike Romano, has documented plenty of mountain lion activity on his trail cameras.
But they weren’t too worried about it, and let Odin run freely about their property. He’s a Cairn Terrier – the same breed as Toto in the “Wizard of Oz” film – and is typically energetic and curious.
Every night around 10 p.m. Krissy would go about her regular routine – which included letting Odin out for a final romp before bedtime.
She went about the house, turning off lights, starting the dishwasher and such – but then things turned chaotic.
“I heard him squeal, and I yelled out to my husband, ‘something’s got Odin!’” Krissy said.
Krissy rushed to the front door, expecting to see Odin locked in battle with a coyote. It turned out to be something much larger.
“I looked straight out of our front door, and on the second step down from the porch, there was a mountain lion on top of him,” she said.
Wildlife experts recommend making yourself look bigger and threatening to discourage a mountain lion attack – so that’s what Krissy did.
“I started waving my arms and yelling, well, my husband said it was more like screaming than yelling, and it seemed like it took forever for the mountain lion to let him go,” she said.
Emergency Trip To Gillette
At last, the big cat let Odin go and headed away from the house – and the little dog darted off, apparently headed toward the back of the residence.
“My husband was scrambling to put on his shoes and get a flashlight and a gun,” Krissy said.
As Todd searched the property, Krissy opened the back door, and Odin came running in.
“He was in pretty good shape, considering. His eye was out. It was still connected, but it was out of the socket,” she said. “I called the vet clinic in Gillette and told them we’d be there in about 45 minutes.”
Despite just having a brush with violent death, Odin didn’t seem particularly worried.
“He was almost like, ‘Yay, we get to go to town!’” Krissy said.
An examination revealed that Odin’s wounds were worse than they’d thought.
“They found four puncture wounds on his body that we hadn’t even seen. There was also a puncture wound in one of his sinuses, and one under his chin – which is the one that popped his eye out,” Krissy said.
She credits veterinarians, Drs. Darren Lynde and Aubry Turnbough, for giving Odin the emergency care he needed that night, as well as follow-up surgery.
After staying a few days at the veterinary clinic, Odin came home to continue healing.
Back To His Old Self
Odin has recovered fully and is as tenacious as he ever was, Krissy said.
His survival is all that more amazing in light of the toll that mountain lions can take on dogs.
In 2022, pet owners in Nederland, a small community in rural Boulder County, Colorado, lost 23 dogs to mountain lions. That included 15 dogs killed in a single month.
But Odin beat the odds and relishes life.
“He looks great. You don’t even really notice that he’s missing an eye, because the way the fur grew in over the socket, it almost looks like an eye from a distance,” Krissy said.
If Odin had things his way, he’d continue to go cruising solo about the property, but his owners think otherwise.
“He was never scared to go outside, even when he first got home from the hospital. But I won’t let him go outside by himself anymore. He gets an escort now,” Krissy said.
Mark Heinz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.