Every now and then, someone adopts what they think is a dog, only to find out that it is not, in fact, a dog. In one particularly extreme case, a family in China bought what they believed to be a Tibetan mastiff puppy. Following several years of feeding a "dog" that ate a “box of fruits and two buckets of noodles every day", the "dog" began walking on two feet, arousing their suspicions that it was, in fact, a bear.
In a similar, though less dangerous, journey of discovery, a family in Massachusetts rescued what they thought to be an adorable puppy, but was actually an adorable coyote instead.
The family discovered the Eastern Coyote pup wandering around and distressed at the side of a busy road, according to the Cape Wildlife Center. The family, who believed it to be a stray puppy, took the coyote home before realizing their mistake and seeking assistance from the 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," the team wrote on Facebook. "He is now recovering comfortably in one of our isolation wards, but will not be on his own for long! A foster sibling has just arrived from [the Wildlife Clinic of Rhode Island] and they will soon be introduced."
The two coyote pups will be vaccinated and raised together, to give them a chance to learn natural behaviors in a large outdoor environment.
"Wild babies are ALWAYS raised with their own kind (never alone) to make certain they recognize and bond with members of their own species and not their human caregivers," the Wildlife Clinic of Rhode Island explained on Instagram.
"Our hope for this little girl is that she will be raised with other coyote pups who will someday become her new coyote family upon release."
Though this has worked out well for all coyote pups and rabies-free humans involved, it could easily have been much more dangerous.
"Coyotes are considered a Rabies vector species in [Massachusetts] and are susceptible to contracting the virus that is deadly to all mammals including people," Cape Wildlife wrote on Facebook.
"If the finders had been bitten, scratched, or had extended contact we would have been mandated to euthanize the pup and test for rabies. 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!"