When Colorado-resident Sarah Bole arrived at her home in Grand County last week, she was surprised that her dog Dash did not rush over to greet her. Instead her pet Shih-Poo was sitting in front of a glass door transfixed by something on the back porch. That something was a mountain lion.

For almost three minutes, Dash and the puma appeared to be locked in a staredown while a nervous Bole filmed the encounter and tried, in vain, to convince her dog to back away from the big cat. At one point Dash began wagging his tail as the mountain lion tentatively tapped on the glass door with its paw. Eventually, the cat got spooked and bolted away (at which point, Dash seemingly developed a newfound bravery and began barking as if to see off the threat).

"It was the most beautiful animal I’ve ever seen and so powerful and frightening at the same time," Bole told Sky-Hi News, adding that she knew she was safe behind the locked door and a loud noise would likely have scared off the cat, but adrenaline and the surprise of encountering an apex predator so close to her home got the better of her in the moment. 

Bole's home is on the fringes of the Rocky Mountain National Park which is prime puma territory, however, the cats can be elusive and close-up encounters like this are considered rare. According to Granby wildlife officer Serena Rocksund, the mountain lion may have been responding to its own reflection and possibly couldn't even see Bole behind the glass. "I don’t think the cat could see her but maybe some movement inside," Rocksund explained to Sky-Hi News. "At no point in the video did the mountain lion try to actively attack the dog, it looked more curious than anything."

Dash meanwhile reacted with unflinching courage ... or curiosity ... or incomprehension. Whichever it was, there's no doubt it was unflinching. Interactions between pets and pumas are not entirely uncommon in America's wilder areas (remember this cat that gave zero hoots when a mountain lion showed up?), so it's advisable for residents in places like Grand County to stay vigilant.

In this instance, the mountain lion was unaggressive and wildlife officials do not believe it to be a threat, but any further sightings in the area should be reported to Colorado Parks and Wildlife just in case.

"We’ve always known that there are mountain lions up here, on our property, in this neighborhood ... I just never expected to see one five feet away looking in my dining room," Bole added.

Cat Mountain Lion Related 2015 06 24

Top header image: Kristen Ortwerth-Jewell, Flickr