A Massachusetts family was in for a surprise when it wanted to give a stray puppy a dog’s chance and brought it home.
The family rescued the dog after finding it worse for wear on the side of the road.
But when experts were consulted they quickly concluded it was a coyote, according to the Cape Wildlife Center in Barnstable.
The eastern coyote pup appeared to have become separated from its animal family at much too young an age to be able to flourish independently.
It and was found “wandering and distressed by the side of a busy road,” the center said.
“He was then accidentally taken home by a local family after they mistakenly identified him as a lost puppy. After realizing their mix-up they called us for assistance.
“With the help of the Mass department of public health we were able to determine there was no potential exposure risk to rabies, and were able to clear him for care, and granted permission to rehab by Mass Wildlife,” the center added.
The coyote pup has been recovering in the center’s isolation ward. A foster sibling from the Wildlife Clinic of Rhode Island has arrived at the Barnstable center and will be introduced to the pup soon.
The cape center plans to raise the two pups together in its outdoor caging once they have been vaccinated.
They will be raised together and will be given a chance [to] grow and learn natural behaviors,” the center said, adding: “We work hard to give them as much of a natural upbringing as possible.”
Although the coyote pup was saved, the center warned that the case could have easily gone awry, as coyotes are considered a rabies vector species in Massachusetts, or common carriers, also including raccoons, skunks, bats and woodchucks.
“We are grateful to every single person who takes time out of their day to help wildlife when they are in need, but we always encourage people to call the appropriate resources prior to intervening,” the center said.