Woman Fights Off Raccoon While Treading Water to Save Dog

“I can’t believe what I did to save my dog,” Simmonds said. “My mama bear instincts kicked in… it was an epic battle in the pond.”

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A Nova Scotia woman could have quickly lost her life in a battle against an aggressive raccoon while treading 12 feet of water, but knew that she didn’t have any other choice to keep her dog alive.  Because of her bravery, her Star is alive and well.

“It all started when we were getting ready to go to the Canada Day fireworks in Pugwash,” Dawn Simmonds told the Metro News.

“My dog had gone down to the ponds. She’s a hunting dog and she follows a muskrat that goes between ours and our neighbor’s pond. I heard a lot of barking, but she didn’t return when I called her. Just more barking. So I went down to see what was going on.”

Her stomach dropped when she saw her 37-pound Brittany Spaniel staring down a raccoon of nearly the same size.  It appeared that Star had backed the raccoon into the neighbor’s pond, but Simmonds knew that the situation was dire.

“My father warned us long ago if a raccoon feels threatened near water it will back into the water to draw the attacker in, and then drown them,” she explained.

She watched in horror as the raccoon backed further into the water, luring Star ever closer.  Emboldened by her seeming victory, the dog went after the rapscallion.  She circled it twice.  Once the trap was set, the raccoon lunged at Star and dragged her to the bottom of the pond.


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“I can’t believe what I did to save my dog,” Simmonds said. “My mama bear instincts kicked in. I kicked off my sandals and dove underwater and grabbed the raccoon by the back of the neck and Star in the other and separated them.”

Star sustained only a chomp on the snout, and swam back to the water’s edge.  Simmonds was still holding the raccoon in the 12-foot deep pond.

“I didn’t feel the bites at that time. It was pure adrenaline,” Simmonds said. “So, I pushed him down as far as I could into the water before I let him go and I swam up. He swam up away from me, gasping for air, and took off… it was an epic battle in the pond.”

Once out of the water, she called her sister to take her to the hospital.  On Friday she began rabies treatment – a needle in every single tooth mark the raccoon left – and Star will spend the next week under observation.

Though she is obviously not happy about having to undergo a series of painful injections, Simmonds doesn’t hold a grudge against her attacker.

“I think he was hunting frogs until Star came along. I was lucky it was not more severe.”

The raccoon survived, but has not been seen in the area since Wednesday.

“I think he learned his lesson.”


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43 thoughts on “Woman Fights Off Raccoon While Treading Water to Save Dog

  1. Does the article come up for anyone? When I open the link, all I get is three pictures of the dog – two of them with the woman.

  2. I live in Brittany and have a rescued Brittany Spaniel, Murphy. Are they very common over there? They don’t seem to have them in the UK and I thought they were a pretty local dog. Star looks lovely, glad you were both OK.

  3. Thank you as all your efforts….. taking a chance paid off u r safe and so his your best buddy.. u r amazing!!! Hope this never happens again!!

  4. I’ve had to fight off the freaking raccoon that comes around three times over the last six years. The last time I tripped while backing away after I finally got it off my dog. It started for me until I regained my balance.

  5. racoons commonly go to the water and when a dog or ?/ chases them they spin around and climb on the head to drown it… racoon was defending itself

  6. So…did the dog survive? did *IT* get rabies shots as well? The article didn’t make this clear…

  7. When your dog’s life in danger, the mom instinct is strong. I know, saved my girl once by jumping in front of a car and a second time when she broke my finger with the leash, I ran into the street and grabbed her, put her on the sidewalk and finally felt the pain of my broken finger. Crazy, I didn’t feel anything at all until after I put her down.

  8. Yes I’ve jumped in front of Rottweilers and Dobermans to protect my dogs during walks. Fortunately my protective instincts made the other dogs go away.

  9. My late husband used to go raccoon hunting as a boy./ He told me that the men warned him that ‘coons will lure a dog into a pond and then get on ithe dog’s head and hold it under until it drowns– He said he has seen ‘coons try that trick a couple of times. Coons are very smart and cunning animals.

  10. Raccoons can be quite aggressive when cornered. I just adopted an 8 yr old dog from a kill shelter who tangled with a raccoon. She lost part of her nose and her lip. Her owners dumped her without any medical treatment. God bless Long Island Pit Stop Rescue for helping her and Smithtown Animal Hospital for her future surgery. You can’t remove the hunting drive from our furry pals. She is still trying to catch squirrels. She did not learn her lesson. It’s my job to keep her from harm now.

  11. She followed her instinct to save her friend. Good job. When my puppy ran to the street becase gate was not alway in I jumped into incomming traffic to save him. Thank God this is 25 mph street. I lended on top of the car’s hood and my dog was in front of me lightly bumpped by a bumper. He fainted and I nearly got arrested for causing an accident. Everthing ended well.

  12. I would go to the end of the earth for my Brittany, Bella. That’s just what you did for Star! Good job!

  13. Interesting that all three individuals were acting on pure instant. Raccoon was protecting itself and trying not to get injured/killed by Star. Star was doing what Brittany’s have been bred to do. Hunt! Brittany’s used to and still can be used on fur and feather. Dawn’s instinct kicked in and she was protecting her baby. I’ve had friends lose coon hounds by coons in water. This article is an example of Nature at its best! Ecstatic that all 3 came out ok. I’d do the same for my babies. BTW: to BowDowntoZod. the article said that Star was observed for a week. I’m sure she’d had her rabies vaccinations and was therefore protected already.

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