A Massachusetts family that thought they'd brought home a lost, terrified puppy they found by the side of a road got quite the surprise when a local wildlife center identified what it actually was: a baby coyote. In what WMUR calls a "major mix-up," the family spotted the young pup—what baby coyotes are called—stranded by the side of a highly trafficked road in Sherborn last week, "wandering and distressed," Barnstable's Cape Wildlife Center tells CBS News. The family soon realized what they had in their care wasn't a puppy, and they brought it to the center, which identified the animal as an eastern coyote, a hybrid creature that has both coyote and wolf parentage, per WCVB.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health jumped in to assist, and it was determined there'd been no potential rabies exposure, clearing the way for the coyote to go to rehab. It's now "resting comfortably" in an isolation unit, per CBS, though it will soon have company: another baby coyote from a wildlife center in Rhode Island, which recently posted pictures of that pup. The two will "be raised together and given a chance [to] grow and learn natural behaviors" in a large outdoor pen, notes the Barnstable center in a Facebook post.
"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 center adds. Although there's a happy ending to this story, it was somewhat of a close call for the little coyote in more ways than one. If the pup had interacted with the family for too long, or even worse, bit or scratched someone, it would've been euthanized to test for rabies. "We always encourage people to call the appropriate resources prior to intervening, it can help keep all involved safe," it says. (Read more coyote stories.)