One local family got a surprise when the lost puppy they took home turned out to be a baby coyote.
The coyote pup was found wandering along the side of a busy road in the Dover-Sherborn area on April 23, according to officials from the New England Wildlife Center.
“He was then accidentally taken home by a local family after they mistakenly identified him as a lost puppy,” officials wrote on the center’s Facebook page. “After realizing their mix-up they called us for assistance.”
It didn’t take the family long to realize they had a coyote on their hands.
“They had it for less than 24 hours,” said Nina Flaherty-Bellotti, a spokeswoman for the New England Wildlife Center.
The center consulted with the state Department of Public Health and was given permission by MassWildlife to care for the pup, which is now “recovering comfortably” at the Birdsey Cape Wildlife Center in Barnstable, the post said.
Another young coyote from Rhode Island recently arrived at the wildlife center and will be the pup’s “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 post 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.”
The New England Wildlife Center will post updates on the animals’ progress and photos of their introduction on its Facebook page. The plan is to release the two coyotes in the fall, said Flaherty-Bellotti.
This is the time of year when eastern coyotes have babies; they typically give birth to 4 to 8 pups in April or May, according to MassWildlife.
The wildlife center noted that this story had a happy ending, but things could have gone quite differently. If any member of the family had been bitten, scratched, or had extended contact with pup, “we would have been mandated to euthanize the pup and test for rabies,” officials wrote.
“We are grateful to every single person who takes time out of their day to help wildlife when they are need, but we always encourage people to call the appropriate resources prior to intervening, it can help keep all involved safe!”