UPDATE: Aug. 8, 1 p.m. ET — Metallica frontman James Hetfield caught wind of the viral story over the weekend and took it upon himself to reach out to Dee Gallant, the avid metal fan who scared away a cougar with the band’s song, Don’t Tread On Me.
Gallant told Global News that Hetfield, 56, gave her a call following her close encounter with the wild animal.
WATCH: Vancouver Island woman’s Metallica moment goes viral
“He called me,” she said. “He was so sweet, I’m still so excited.”
Following their phone call, Hetfield raised his horns and sent Gallant a selfie over text.
“Thought you might like some confirmation that it was me,” he wrote.
If ever given the opportunity to meet the band, Gallant said: “I would definitely give them all a big hug and thank them for saving my life.”
On Tuesday, July 23, Dee Gallant, a Vancouver Island resident, and her eight-year-old husky retriever Murphy went to a local logging trail just outside of Duncan, B.C., for their regular evening walk.
It didn’t turn out to be just any ordinary stroll, however. Gallant said she and her companion were faced with a threatening cougar that stood 50 feet ahead, maintaining a solid stare.
In hopes of intimidating it, Gallant waved her arms and yelled at the beast as it slowly made its way towards her and Murphy.
LISTEN: Metallica’s 1991 The Black Album fan-favourite, ‘Don’t Tread on Me’
Fortunately for the pair, Gallant had her phone handy, and in the heat of the moment, she pulled out her large music library and blasted the Black Album classic to scare it off.
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Gallant spoke to Global News on Thursday morning, detailing the close encounter.
“I thought I’d just take Murphy for a Iittle hike like we usually do,” she said. “It was an evening so it started to get a bit dusky. We got a little ways up and I saw something watching me.
“At first, I wasn’t intimidated,” Gallant said. “I thought, ‘Wow. This is really cool. Look at that cougar,'” comparing it to the likes of seeing a deer in the forest.
“I realized he was coming towards me. I thought, ‘Uh-oh.’ Then he was prowling towards me so I waved my arms in the air, but he just kept coming,” she said.
Before recording her own video of the encounter, Gallant said she had to start yelling and hissing to get the cougar to stop approaching her.
“Get outta here,” “bad kitty” and “I’ll fight you” were among the things she shouted at the cougar.
While footage of the cougar scampering off was not recorded, Gallant said she had to stop filming in order to get to her iTunes library.
“I stopped filming, went to my iTunes and found Metallica‘s Don’t Tread on Me,” she said. “I thought it was perfect because it gives him the message that I want to send, and it’s a really intimidating-sounding song.
“I immediately put it on and I held it up high in the air,” she continued. “As soon as he heard the first note, he bolted. He was just gone.
Gallant said the animal looked much bigger than it had initially appeared when it started running away.
She added: “When I was looking at him head-on, he didn’t look that big, but when he turned sideways to run to a bush, that’s when I was like, ‘Whoa, I don’t think I could have taken that cougar.'”
“I told him I’d fight him but I’m glad I didn’t have to,” Gallant joked.
Despite the close encounter, Gallant said she and Murphy continued up the trail to complete their walk.
“We were only in about a kilometre or two in so I thought we might as well finish our walk,” she said.
Gallant admitted she was more nervous about being attacked following the encounter, as they lost sight of the cougar, and she remained cautious the whole journey home.
“We stayed in the middle of the road, we made a lot of noise, and I talked to Murphy the whole way,” she said.
When asked what she would say to the members of Metallica, Gallant said: “I would definitely give them all a big hug and thank them for saving my life.”