A family who thought they had rescued an adorable lost puppy from the streets were stunned when they discovered his true identity.
The animal lovers initially believed they had heroically rescued a sweet puppy they found “wandering and distressed” on a busy road.
But the brood from Massachusetts, USA, had picked up a baby coyote in Cape Cod and unknowingly brought it into their home on April 23.
Realizing they had made a dangerous mistake, they hastily called the New England Wildlife Center (NEWC) for help.
Spokeswoman Nina Flaherty-Bellotti said The Boston Globe that the unnamed family had the animal for “less than 24 hours.”
The nonprofit wildlife clinic explained the major mixup in a Facebook post, explaining that the coyote had been separated from its pack.
It said its experts initially feared the family may have been exposed to rabies.
Coyotes roaming the United States are often infected with the deadly infection, which can kill all mammals, including humans.
But together with the Ministry of Health, the NEWC determined that “there is no potential risk of exposure to rabies.”
This meant wildlife experts were able to release the coyote cub for care and it is now “recovering well” in an isolation facility.
But the wild animal won’t be alone for long, as it will soon be introduced to its foster sibling, who has arrived from another clinic.
The post continues: “Once both puppies have received their vaccinations, they will be raised together and given the chance to grow and learn natural behaviors in our large outdoor cage.”
“We are working hard to give them the most natural upbringing possible and will work to reproduce the essential behaviors and skills they learn from Mom and Dad.”
“This case had a happy ending, but it could easily have turned out differently.”
The center said it would have been “ordered to euthanize and test for rabies” if the family had been bitten, scratched or had prolonged contact with the coyote.
State wildlife officials said eastern coyotes typically give birth to four to eight pups during the months of April or May.
The New England Wildlife Center plans to release the two coyotes in the coming months, Flaherty-Bellotti said.
The nonprofit promised to post updates on the coyotes’ progress and photos of their introduction on its Facebook page.
The family isn’t the only one tricked into adopting a wolfdog.
We previously shared how an animal lover accidentally picked up a baby coyote that he thought was an abandoned pup.
Another woman had the shock of her life when she took in a “stray” husky puppy and it grew into something even deadlier.
And this woman thought she had bought an expensive pug, but was stunned when it grew into a completely different breed.