For the past nine years, the Havens family has lived in their Idaho Springs home in Colorado with no problems. They believed they were secure and safe here. On June 14, however, when a wild animal somehow got into their yard and started attacking their children, that sense of safety and security was destroyed.

The Havens have four kids: 4, 7, 8, and 11. They were playing on the backyard playset while their dad worked on the car when out of nowhere, their 3-year-old dog ‘Lady’ noticed they were in danger.

The children’s Chihuahua/pit bull mix dog always kept watch over them and that day was the first to sense danger her human siblings were in.

Lady barked furiously, alerting her family to danger. When dad looked outside, he was shocked and scared to see a mountain lion in their yard!

37-year-old mother Virginia Havens recounted the event to “Today,” saying, “I heard my husband screaming, ‘Get in the house now’ and my kids crying, ‘Wolf!’ I had a surreal moment where I thought, ‘Am I seeing what I think I’m seeing?’”

She had never seen anything like it in her life. She couldn’t believe what their little but brave dog did next. Lady was a tiny but courageous dog, who confronted the enormous mountain lion with no fear. The savage animal appeared to be around five times bigger than the dog, yet that did not intimidate Lady at all.

After circling each other warily, they suddenly began to fight.

In an attempt to break up the fight, Mom started throwing anything she could find out of the window. The father called 911 for help while they watched their tiny dog courageously battle a much larger cat. Their children were frightened, crying and begging for their pet’s safety.

The cops didn’t take long to arrive at the scene. They showed up five minutes later, armed with bean bag guns, and began shooting at the mountain lion. The big cat was shot twice and fled as a result of their efforts.

They knew that Lady was still bravely defending her family, but they were aware that she was not doing well.

Havens stated, “She was bloody and had a hole in her skull. As she got closer, I could see her right eye bulging and she had labored breathing… She had three holes in her skull and the underside of her snout was punctured, which is why she couldn’t breathe well. Doctors couldn’t guarantee she’d live through the night.”

The family understood that the kindest thing they could do for their brave hero dog was to allow her to go peacefully.

Havens said to The Seattle Times, “The kids were in a puddle of tears but seeing Lady like that also helped them understand the reason to let her go. We said goodbye and kissed Lady and thanked her. Her injuries were just too severe. I just kissed her and thanked her, and we let her go.”

Lady’s bravery was celebrated. In fact, even Mayor Chuck Harmon praised Lady’s courage. The Mayor stated, “You can imagine a diminutive dog going against a full-grown mountain lion. What a brave dog. It gave its life protecting those family members. Had that mountain lion gotten a hold of one of the children, it would’ve been a very tragic outcome.”

The Havens were also quite sure that without their hero dog, things would have taken a drastically different turn.