Alishea Morrison said she acted on pure instinct when she saved seven-year-old Cason Feuser from a cougar attack on Sunday.
Cason and her two sisters were staying with Morrison at a campground near Buster Creek, Alberta, along with three other children. The six had been trying to catch frogs near the river, Morrison said, when she heard one of the girls shout, “Cougar!”
She jumped up from her chair and ran to see the cougar on top of the boy, her jaws clenched around his head.
“It was like a split second. I just grabbed a rock and hit the cougar in the head somehow – and I didn’t hit Cason, thank God – and it let him down.
The cougar ran to camp before Morrison’s dog, Jersey, chased it and ran into the woods. After the cougar left, she said she knew she had to stop the bleeding and call 911.
“These three things just happened. I didn’t think about them, it just happened,” she said. “I’m sure my training probably helped.”
Morrison, a registered nurse and nurse practitioner, took Cason to the trailer and wrapped his injuries in towels. Her niece helped lobby when Morrison had to move to reconnect to the cell phone network to call 911.
Paramedics arrived about 30 minutes later, taking Carson away while they waited for the STARS to arrive. Morrison called Cason’s mother, Chay Feuser, to let her know what had happened. A few hours later, Morrison and the other children left the campsite and went home.
Cason is doing well after the surgery and after he was released from the hospital, his mother said, and she and Morrison are grateful the attack wasn’t worse. It’s something you worry about, she says, but you never think it will happen.
Morrison is an experienced outdoorswoman and said she was actually prepared for something like this. There was a gun in the trailer and a knife easily accessible at the campsite. Yet in the end, instinct saved Cason, she adds.
“I was as prepared as I think I could have been and, you know, having to become a cavewoman with a rock was exactly what happened. The gun was useless to me in the trailer,” she said, adding that the cougar was on Cason for only eight to ten seconds.
“That’s all it took. So if I had gone to grab a gun or a knife, it would have taken 20 seconds longer. And I think about it. »
The children are doing remarkably well considering, Morisson said, but she fears the trauma of that day may have robbed her family of their love of the woods and their sense of safety outdoors.
She adds that an attack like this is rare, and she doesn’t want the story to scare people away from the outdoors and enjoy nature, but she advises getting first aid training and knowing where Cellular service points are located in the area in case of emergency.
There are no plans for Morrison and her family to return to the outback soon, but she hopes they will one day.
“I have a lot of emotions. I think there’s a bit of guilt. I wish there was something I could have done so that this never happened in the first place,” she said.
“Hopefully with therapy and guidance for the kids and myself, and Chay and their family, we can love the woods again, maybe a day later.”