Family takes in ‘lost puppy’ from the road, only to find out he’s a coyote

Dogs and coyotes are both canines and closely related in the animal kingdom. While their behavior typically differs in a lot of ways, they can also be similar enough that it’s easy to get the two species confused.

There have been a number of cases of animal lovers taking in what they think are stray dogs, only to find out the animal is actually a coyote. That was the case recently, after one family found out their “lost puppy” was really a coyote pup separated from his family.

According to a post from Cape Wildlife Center, a local family found the animal by the side of a busy road. Seeing he was in distress, and mistaking him for a lost puppy, they took him in.

But after bringing the animal home, they soon realized the mix-up, and contacted Cape Wildlife Center for assistance.

The Eastern Coyote pup was separated from his family last week and was found wandering and distressed by the side of a…

Posted by Cape Wildlife Center on Monday, May 2, 2022

The center took the coyote pup, and were granted permission to rehabilitate him. The coyote is “now recovering comfortably” in an isolation ward, but will soon be introduced to a foster sibling.

The two coyotes will be vaccinated and raised together. While the two orphaned coyotes don’t have parents to teach them important survival skills, they will “be given a chance to [to] grow and learn natural behaviors in our large outdoor caging.”

“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,” Cape Wildlife Center wrote.

While things are looking up for this coyote, the center says that his story “could have easily gone differently” after being taken in by the family.


While they concluded that there was no potential exposure risk for rabies, they say that if the coyote pup had scratched, bitten or had extended contact with the family, they would have had to euthanize the pup and test for rabies.

While this was an honest mistake and the family thought they were helping a lost dog, the center stresses that, for your own sake and the animal’s, you should take precautions and let the professionals handle things.

“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!” the Cape Wildlife Center wrote.

That is quite a mix-up, but we’re glad this family got the coyote pup into the right hands, and now he’s on the road to rehabilitation. Thank you to everyone who cared for this coyote!

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