Puppy mix-up! Family rescues surprise wild animal

Barnstable, Massachusetts - Luckily this puppy mix-up had a happy ending, but things could have been dangerously different.

This little coyote was so cute, his rescuers thought he was a puppy.
This little coyote was so cute, his rescuers thought he was a puppy.  © Screenshot/Facebook/Cape Wildlife Center

Local residents rescued what they thought was a puppy from the street and accidentally put their lives on the line.

A family from Massachusetts saw a cuddly but distressed animal wandering down the side of a busy road last week.

The lost pup had clearly been separated from its mother, so without thinking twice, they picked up the pooch and took it home.

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But once they got there, they realized that they had brought back something wild: a coyote pup.

"After realizing their mix up they called us for assistance," wrote the Cape Wildlife Center in a Facebook post.

Before the little coyote could move into a rehabilitation center, the pup had to undergo a very important milestone: a rabies test.

"With the help of the Mass Department of Public Health we were able to determine there was no potential exposure risk to rabies," the center said.

Coyotes have been recently popping up more and more in residential areas, and are able to easily carry and transfer the deadly rabies virus to humans.

This coyote may not grow up in the wild

The tiny animal, which did not resemble a full-sized coyote (stock image), had been separated from its family and was wandering along a road.
The tiny animal, which did not resemble a full-sized coyote (stock image), had been separated from its family and was wandering along a road.  © 123rf/jjjuveee

If the cute roadside find had "bitten, scratched or had extended contact" with its rescuers, the staff would have had to euthanize the four-legged friend.

But luckily, the family called the center quickly and the pup kept its claws to itself.

The coyote pup is currently recovering comfortably in an isolation ward, according to the group's Facebook. And they say it won't be on its own much longer: "A foster sibling has just arrived from @riwildliferehab and they will soon be introduced."

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Both cubs will be vaccinated and then raised together. The animals will get the chance to learn natural behaviors in large outdoor enclosures.

"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," the group promised.

The organization said it's grateful when outsiders want to help care for wild animals in need, but suggest potential helpers call the appropriate authorities or organizations before blindly jumping into action.

Cape Wildlife Center promised they would keep fans of the coyote puppy in the loop.

Cover photo: Collage: Screenshot/Facebook/Cape Wildlife Center

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