Amazingly, the young Streamwood woman survived, and is sharing her story.It's a day that started like every other for Marissa Dub at the Exotic Feline Rescue Center in Center Point, Indiana.
Twenty-three-year-old Dub is an animal keeper, and was getting ready to clean a tigers pen and put some food out, something she has done many times before.
Although she has no memory about what happens next, she thinks one of the gates was left open.
"So I either saw the cat in the small part where he was supposed to be and I entered his area without shutting his gate, or his gate was shut and somehow he opened it," she said.
Rajah the tiger, wanting interaction, escaped and came at her.
"When they all came, the cat was on me and my head was basically in his mouth," Dub said.
The tiger badly injured her. She has severe head and neck injuries, a deep claw mark on her back. She had multiple strokes and lost all movement on one side of her face. Dub's vocal cords are damaged, so talking and even eating is challenging.
Amazingly, there is good news.
"They are expecting a full recovery they don't see anything that will linger," said Kris Dub, Marissa's mother.
Marissa is not angry at the tiger and insists rajah was just trying to play.
In fact, she couldn't wait to leave the hospital to go back and see him to make sure he was alright.
She is determined to come back strong, and be with her animals again.
"I love my job," she said. "I love the relationships with the cats, even if they are bad relationships."
This is not surprising to her mom.
"That's Marissa," Kris Dub said. "Marissa cares about the animals more than she cares about people."
Dub, who is still recovering from her injuries, is already back at work.
The Dub family has set-up a fund for Marissa to help with her piling medical bills.
If you'd like to help, visit any BMO Harris Bank and donate to the Marissa Dub Benefit Fund.