Stories about parents gaining superpowers to save their kids seem apocryphal, but every so often a dad really does lift a car off a toddler or, as in Chelsea Lockhart’s case, a mom actually pries open the jaws of a wild animal in the middle of attacking her son.
Lockhart’s seven-year-old son Zachery was playing outside the family’s rural home on Vancouver Island last Friday. A cougar came up to the fence and bared its teeth. Zachery ran, but the wild cat made it through the fence and latched onto his arm before he could get inside.
“I could hear his voice, I could hear struggling, so I ran down the stairs and ran to his voice and turned the corner, and I see this animal on my child,” Lockhart told CTV. She ran outside at what we can only imagine was supersonic speed and found the cougar trying to drag her son away.
“I had a mom instinct, right? I just leaped on it and tried to pry its mouth open,” she said. That’s right, Lockhart put her hands inside the cougar’s mouth — where all the sharp teeth are! — and summoned all of her strength to free her son. A religious woman, Lockhart even started speaking in tongues. In a matter of seconds, the cougar released his grip and ran away.
Zachery suffered an inch-and-a-half gash on his head along with injuries to his neck and arms. He’s received stitches for the wound and is expected to make a full recovery.
Conservation officers found the cougar who attacked Zachery and another young male cougar believed to be his brother. It’s believed that they were separated from their mother for months and were starving at the time of the attack. That part of the story is, quite frankly, incredibly sad.
British Columbia government statistics show that just eight people were killed and 94 injured by cougars in the province between 1900 and 2018, a testament to how rare an attack like this is and how desperate the young cat must have been.
Still, as a precaution, the family has set up a trap and a security camera in its backyard. And we can’t imagine that Zachery or any of his five siblings will be playing alone back there any time soon.