Despite the seemingly obvious difference, people routinely mistake coyotes for dogs, both when they’re pups and adults. It’s happened more than once before, and it will likely happen again in the future, so Eli Boroditsky is in good company after his mix-up on Nov. 27.
Boroditsky is a gentleman with a kind heart. He was on his way to a night shift at the cheese factory where he worked when a “large dog” ran out into the road in front of him.
“I thought it was a German shepherd or a husky,” he told the Canadian Broadcasting Company. “I didn’t think it was a wild animal.”
He’d been driving at around 55 miles per hour when he hit the canine, and he immediately pulled over to check on it. It was on the side of the road, dazed, and Boroditsky couldn’t in good conscience leave the “German shepherd” lying there all alone.
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“I was hesitant to leave it lying there because — thinking that it was a dog and there might be wild animals around — it might get hurt,” he said. The irony, of course, was that the injured creature was the very “wild animal” he feared might be around.
He put the coyote in the back seat area of his car and continued on his way to work. The animal was so calm that Boroditsky didn’t question his original “dog” assessment.
“It is amazing how docile it was,” he said. “I was petting it.”
It wasn’t until he got to work that a sharp-eyed coworker identified the “dog” as a wild coyote. Armed with this new information, Boroditsky tried calling conservation officers to come to pick up the critter, but since it was past 9:30 p.m. no one was available to pick it up.
The earliest they could get there was the next morning at 9, but somehow the coyote behaved itself and didn’t destroy the car, choosing instead to lounge on the seat until backup arrived.
When it was removed from the car, it finally showed a little of its wilder side.
“The only time she really acted up is when the wildlife officer put the loop around her to get her out of the car,” Boroditsky said.
Eventually, the coyote was taken to Wildlife Haven Rehabilitation Centre, where it was determined to be in pretty good shape and to have only sustained a few minor injuries.
This is a very rare case where the coyote did not lash out at its rescuer, and Zoé Nakata, the executive director of the Wildlife Haven, urged people not to imitate Boroditsky’s misplaced but well-meant actions.
“Wild animals are not docile, especially when they’re scared,” she told The Washington Post. “So we’re very lucky that everyone was safe.”
“Our message is, if people do find a coyote on the side of the road, do not pick it up,” she added. “The best thing to do is call authorities and the experts.”
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