Last time, I showed some of Wayne Allison's photos of cougars. Today's slideshow is from Allison's encounter with a young pet cougar in a suburb of the Twin Cities.
"It was all muscle," Wayne's daughter D'Arcy told me. She noted that the cougar's build surprised her—its long, flexible spine, its powerful haunches. She and her mother and another woman played with the cougar on the lawn in front of D'Arcy's office building.
The owner told how his pet had once saved him from a mugger. The mugger approached him from behind as he was loading stuff into his vehicle. The man heard a voice demand his wallet. Then he heard footsteps running away. The mugger had caught sight of the man's formidable passenger.
D'Arcy enjoyed meeting the cougar, which stayed on its leash the whole time. But she says she had a very uncomfortable moment when some children passed by on their bikes. "You're used to seeing a pet cat focus in on a bird like that," she said. "I wasn't used to seeing a big, powerful animal look at children that way."