A kind-hearted Massachusetts family got more beast than they bargained for when they rescued what they thought was a lost puppy – but was actually a baby coyote, wildlife officials said.
The coyote pup, which got separated from its pack, was scooped up by the unwitting family late last month when they found him “wandering and distressed” along a busy road, the New England Wildlife Center said Tuesday.
“He was then accidentally taken home by a local family after they mistakenly identified him as a lost puppy,” the organization said on its Facebook page. “After realizing their mix-up, they called us for assistance.”
The wayward young coyote is now “recovering comfortably” in an isolation ward, but he’ll soon be joined by a foster sibling, officials said.
“Once both pups receive their vaccinations, they will be raised together and will be given a chance [to] grow and learn natural behaviors in our large outdoor caging,” the group said. “We work hard to give them as much of a natural upbringing as possible, and will work to replicate the essential behaviors and skills they learn from mom and dad.”
While the story had a “happy ending,” the positive outcome wasn’t at all certain since coyotes can carry rabies, according to the New England Wildlife Center.
“If the finders had been bitten, scratched or had extended contact, we would have been mandated to euthanize the pup and test for rabies,” officials said.
But the family who picked up the baby coyote in the Dover-Sherborn area on April 23 only had him as their new “puppy” for less than a day, the New England Wildlife Center told the Boston Globe.
“They had it for less than 24 hours,” spokeswoman Nina Flaherty-Bellotti told the newspaper.
Eastern coyotes typically give birth to pups in April or May, according to state wildlife officials. The New England Wildlife Center plans to release the coyote and its foster sibling in the fall, Flaherty-Bellotti said.
“We will keep you updated on their progress and will share some photos of their introduction,” the organization said Tuesday. “Thank you for your support!”