CHICO, Calif. - A Chico woman said she and her roommate are alive, because her dog saved them from a mountain lion in Upper Bidwell Park.
Chico State student Rachel Athos said she and her roommate were walking her lab-pit bull mix over the weekend when the dog sacrificed itself to save them.
Park officials confirmed they found remains of the dog near the area where they were walking.
Officials still aren't sure a mountain lion was responsible and said even though a lot of people use the park every day it's still the wild and you should be prepared at all times.
"It's a park and there's wildlife that lives here," said Alex Dorsett, a hiker. "It's not something that can be thought of as ridiculous. It's a common area where people like to go there's still definitely wildlife around here."
On Saturday, Athos said she was walking her dog with her roommate near Brown Hole when they saw a mountain lion.
Athos explained in an email that her dog Lexi came between the two and they were able to get away, but Lexi never came back.
"People always think their dogs are there to protect them but they can actually attract or cause an interaction with a mountain lion," said Dan Efseaff, park and resources manager for the City of Chico.
The General Services Department put up warning signs just outside where the trails start.
Park officials said if you come face to face with a mountain lion, make yourself as big as possible, look the animal in the eye and make as much noise as you can.
"The initial reaction is that I'm going to turn and run. No that is the wrong thing to do because they will tend to respond that instead of just backing off and removing yourself from this situation," said Efseaff.
Park officials said always travel with a friend and always be aware of your surroundings.
Also, if you are walking with your dog always keep them on a leash in heavily wooded areas.