Yellowknife woman wrestles lynx, frees puppy

Shania Tymchatyn says she saved her eight-pound, nine-month-old puppy from a lynx wandering Yellowknife – then spent 10 to 20 minutes holding the lynx down to ensure it didn’t attack other dogs in the area.

Tymchatyn and her partner were heading to Tin Can Hill’s walking trails from Rat Lake on Monday evening when the animal emerged from nearby bushes and grabbed their puppy, Arlo. 

“All I remember is falling to the ground and pulling them apart,” Tymchatyn recalled, adding she and Arlo each ultimately emerged unharmed. 


“I remember throwing my dog the opposite away from us and grabbing this animal by the neck and body and managing to get myself on top of it. At this point, I still had no clue what I was even holding down.”

As her boyfriend tried to find the puppy – which had run away after escaping the lynx – Tymchatyn said she screamed for help until a man came from the townhomes that border Rat Lake.

It was he who informed Tymchatyn that the animal she was holding down was a lynx.

Tymchatyn’s boyfriend – who had found Arlo – and the man began warning people to leave the area.

“By this time, it felt like it was 20 minutes,” said Tymchatyn the next morning. “It felt like so long, just sitting there holding this lynx down.”


She kept her right hand around the lynx’s neck and used her left to hold down its paws, so it couldn’t swat her.

Calm at first, the lynx eventually began hissing.

The neighbour – Tymchatyn doesn’t know the man’s name – ran home and returned with lacrosse sticks. The three planned to release the lynx then use the sticks to protect themselves if it turned around and tried to attack them.

Luckily, the lynx instead ran back into the bushes.


“We were very lucky. Somebody was looking down on us,” Tymchatyn said.

By the time a wildlife officer arrived at Tin Can Hill, the lynx was gone. However, sightings of the animal have occurred in various parts of Yellowknife for the past two days.

Mike Westwick, a spokesperson for the NWT’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources, said officers were tracking reports of the lynx.

“We would ask residents in the Yellowknife area to stay aware and be mindful of household pet safety,” Westwick said by email.

“If you do come across a lynx, the best thing to do is keep your distance – in rare cases, they may become more aggressive if they feel cornered or have been infected with rabies. Safety should always come first.

“Lynx may be susceptible to being struck by vehicles, particularly at night – so we would also ask drivers to be careful and stay aware.”