The 5-year-old who survived an attack by a mountain lion this spring still bears physical scars atop his head — which he pointed out in an interview on "Good Morning America" today.
"I got teeth marks here," Jose Salazar Jr. said, pointing to his scalp, as he explained how the lion "dragged me down the hill."
It began as a nice family outing on May 17 when Jose, his two siblings and his parents, Charlotte and Jose Sr., took a hike on a nature trail in New Mexico's Cibola National Forest.
In a flash, the hike turned into a near deadly nightmare, when Jose was attacked by a mountain lion and dragged into the brush by his head.
"We saw him grab him and just rush down the hill. It was very fast," 29-year-old Charlotte said on "GMA." "[It was] just pure terror. I felt helpless at the time. I put all my reliance on my husband. I was screaming, 'Don't let it get away. Don't let him take him. Don't lose sight of him.'"
The elder Jose was carrying the couple's 1-year-old child, while 3-year-old Teresa and Jose Jr. walked just ahead of the pair. When Teresa stopped to pick up flowers, Jose Jr. went a few feet ahead around a bend -- and that's when the Salazars heard their oldest child's painful cries and screams.
They rushed toward the sounds, only to see what they believed to be a mountain lion attacking their son.
Charlotte, who was 38 weeks pregnant with the couple's fourth child, said she believed she would never see her son again after watching the cat grab Jose Jr.'s head and drag him down the hillside.
Jose Sr. literally leaped into action to save his boy and tried to keep his namesake within his sight.
"I was wearing cowboy boots it was tough. I lost sight of them when I ran off the trail to go after him. The cat grabbed him when it saw us and ran," Jose Sr. said on "GMA."
The 30-year-old tripped a few times as he tracked his son through the brush.
"That last trip, when I was about to actually fall on the ground, I was able to spring off on my left leg and jump at them," he said.
That scared the animal away, and Jose Sr. rushed to Jose Jr. He carried him back up the hill on his shoulder.
"I didn't think he really looked that bad when I took him off of my shoulder," said Jose Sr., who made sure to face the boy away from his mother in case the injuries were severe. Then, "I saw the back of his scalp just fall back. That's the worst part. [Nobody] wants to see the inside of your child."
The Salazars called 911.
The father bandaged his son with his shirt before calling 911 and rushing Jose Jr. to the hospital.
Other than the sewn-up gash on the crown of his head, Jose Jr. showed no other visible injuries. He spent a week in the hospital before being released, and his mother said his recovery has gone "beautifully."
But the child does have some emotional trauma following the incident.
"He is scared of dogs and cats. We're working through it. He's getting better and better every day," said Charlotte, who gave birth to the family's fourth child, Mauricio, six weeks ago. "He's recovering awesome. All of his wounds are healing."