Last week, a family came across an animal in distress on the side of a busy road. They thought it was a lost puppy, but it turns out this puppy was a bit wilder than that.

New England Wildlife Center shared the scary mix-up on Facebook of a local family taking home an Eastern Coyote.

According to New England Wildlife Center, the coyote pup had been separated from its family and was found wandering alone. When the local family came across the animal, they believed it was a poor little puppy.

“After realizing their mix-up, they called us for assistance,” said New England Wildlife Center. “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.”

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Imagine the panic the family must have felt when they realized this little pup wasn’t a dog at all? I can’t help but wonder, when did the family realize the little guy wasn’t a dog?

Thankfully, the center reported that the little coyote is recovering comfortably and will be joined by a foster sibling from the Wildlife Rehab Association of Rhode Island.

I’m thankful this story has a happy ending. I’m sure the family was a bit thrown off when they discovered that they had brought a coyote home, but thanks to their rescue, this little coyote gets a second shot at life.

The center explained how the situation could have been much worse.

“Coyotes are considered a rabies vector species in MA. ... If the finders had been bitten, scratched, or had extended contact, we would have been mandated to euthanize the pup and test for rabies,” they said.

The next time you see a cute animal in distress, the safest choice is to call the professionals.

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