A Canadian woman has become a lifelong fan of Metallica after the heavy metal band’s hit 1991 song "Don't Tread On Me" saved her life from a stalking cougar.
45-year-old British Columbia resident Dee Gallant was out with her dog Murphy for the usual evening walk in the woods of Cowichan Valley, South Duncan, on July 23 when she realized they weren’t the only ones on the trail.
"I looked over to the right and there it was, I couldn't make it out at first and thought 'oh that is a strange color, that's not a tree,'" KelownaNow, a local news outlet, quoted her as saying.
The woman said that her excitement over seeing a cougar up close for the first time soon turned into fear as the predator started stalking them.
"Initially I wasn't that scared, I remember thinking 'cool that's a cougar,' and then it was 'why is it still there?' before turning into 'oh my god it's coming toward me, I need to make it stop," she said.
Although her yelling made the cougar stop, it wasn’t going anywhere.
Gallant then tried waving her arms and yelled bad kitty!" and "get out of here!" without any impact on the animal.
The animal "froze like a statue”, eyeing Gallant and her dog Murphy.
That’s until she took out her phone and decided to play Metallica’s "Don't Tread On Me" in a desperate bid to scare away the animal.
And, according to Gallant, it worked like a charm.
"I thought it was the noisiest thing on my phone that would probably scare it, that was also the message I wanted to convey to the cougar," she told KelownaNow, which reported that the big cat ran away into the bush “as soon as the first notes of the song blared out.”
The woman later joked on Facebook that perhaps the cougar “didn’t want to eat anything that leaves a Metallica taste in his mouth.”
Gallant said she played the song on loop for the rest of the hike, while staying in the middle of the road and keeping Murphy close to her.
She said she thought the incident which lasted a total of five minutes was “exciting”. "I actually thought it was really cool that I got to see a cougar for so long," she said.
It wasn’t long before Gallant’s wish to thank James Hetfield for saving her life was fulfilled after the artist called her on August 2 following her life-threatening brush with the cougar.
“I couldn't even believe he was calling me,” Gallant was quoted saying. “I had hoped I would hear from them but when I first put it out there I didn't expect it to go this far.”
So much so that she asked the American musician, singer, and songwriter: “How do I know it is really you?”
The Metallica co-founder, lead vocalist, rhythm guitarist, and main songwriter apparently even sent her a message and selfie to assure her she had indeed spoken to the man.