"Don't Tread on Me" sent the cougar running
Metallica's heavy-metal beats have been known to scare grannies and pop music fans, but this time the band's legendary riffs frightened away a much more dangerous creature.
Canadian Dee Gallant and her dog Murphy were hiking through the wilderness of Vancouver Island in British Columbia last week when she suddenly realized they were being stalked by a mountain lion that was only 50 yards up the trail. As the wild cat slowly crept toward them, Gallant yelled for it to stop. Even though it remained at the end of the trail, it crouched with its gaze fixed at the two, as if it were about to attack.
Gallant waved her arms and yelled at the lion to try to scare it away, but it remained transfixed. She knew she needed to try something else. That's when the Metallica fan got an idea. She started blasting "Don't Tread on Me" on her phone.
I thought it was the noisiest thing on my phone that would probably scare it, she said. That was also the message I wanted to convey to the cougar.
It worked. The cougar eventually left her alone and retreated into the woods.
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.
Gallant's story caught the attention of media outlets around the world and eventually the band members. In fact, frontman James Hetfield gave her a call.
"I was a little bit lost for words," she told CTV News. "It's surreal how quickly it happened and how far it's gone. The fact that he's so down to earth and such a great person, I'm very pleased to find that out firsthand."
She said she and Hetfield talked about their dogs, living on Vancouver Island and living in California.
"I can't believe he knows my dog's name," she said. "If you had told the 18-year-old me that this would happen, I never would've believed it. I would've just fallen out of my skin with excitement."
Hetfield likely got the sense she was in disbelief. Shortly after the phone call ended, he sent her a selfie with the "rock on" symbol and a message that said: "Thought you might like some confirmation that it was me."