How a compassionate family reached out across Canada to Coyote Watch, embarking on a life changing journey which saved nine beautiful coyote pups…
On Friday, April 25th, my sister received a text from our uncle stating how he had found some newborn pups of some sort whilst checking on the family farm. We then decided to go and check it out for ourselves and headed out to the farm that morning. As we walked towards the area we could hear their loud cries. We approached cautiously, scanning the area for the parents of these babies but could see none. We then decided it would be a good idea to set up a trail cam to see if the parents would return or not. As we left to go and locate one, all 10 pups appeared alive and very loud like they might be hungry. Later that evening we received a visit from my uncle explaining that he had just been out there again and that sadly they seemed unresponsive and possibly dead. He then went on about something to do with mother nature but to be honest I stopped listening at “possibly dead”.
My mind instantly began a list of everything we needed to take to the farm to try and save these pups. As I looked around the room I knew my sister and boyfriend were doing the same. We sprung into action and I ran downstairs to find a box, while my sister Angie and Danny gathered old towels. We all jumped into my mother’s van and drove off to the farm. The van barely had a chance to stop before we were jumping out and running towards the pups. Upon arrival we still saw no trace of their parents and the pups were not moving or making any sound. Without hesitation we began scooping the pups out of the hole. It broke our hearts to feel their cold frozen bodies within our hands. Once all 10 were collected and in the box, we rushed back to the van to get them into some warmth. It became clear that something needed to be done right then if any were going to survive. I began handing out pups to everyone and demanded we start rubbing them to get their blood moving. I don’t even think the thought of death was an option for these pups. A sense of relief came over us as we heard that first weak whimper. We then knew we weren’t too late and with each new cry we heard this became more apparent. The towels were not enough heat for how frozen these poor pups were so we decided to do the next best thing. One by one each pup was going down someone’s shirt in hopes that our body heat would do the trick. Slowly as warmth returned to their bodies, the pups began to regain some movement but were still very weak.
Once home, we began warming up wheat bags and making up some milk replacement as suggested to us by the local vet. All the pups were placed on the warmth as we attempted to feed them each with a syringe. We then did our best to help the puppies eliminate their waste. This involved us gently massaging the anus and urinary orifice with a damp Kleenex until they urinated and/or defecated. As we did this, the bowel movements of each one were very hard and black making us believe this was their first elimination and likely abandoned at birth. We took the box of pups to our room, heated up the wheat bags and went to sleep, hoping they would survive the night. We knew it would be a long night, and sure enough we were woken multiple times due to the wheat bags losing heat. We warmed them up and tried to feed the pups but they were not very interested.
Once morning came, we took them to the vet to identify them and receive information on what to do next. They said the pups definitely did not look like regular puppies and rather something wild. They encouraged us to do our best but they likely would not survive. We then decided to purchase a heating pad so the box temperature could be somewhat regulated. This helped immensely. They appeared to be getting stronger and our hopes for their survival increased. Sadly, on the second night, one of the ten pups deceased. This was heart breaking and I knew we needed to find someone who could help. I spent hours searching and this is when I found Coyote Watch Canada. I was impressed by how deeply they seemed to care for the protection of wildlife, especially coyotes. I quickly contacted them that Sunday night. By early Monday morning, they were asking for a contact number and within minutes I was on the phone with Lesley. She asked many specific questions and showed great concern for the pups, even though we were thousands of kilometers apart. Lesley made it easy knowing she was only a phone call or email away. She made me aware of how important it was for us to find them a home as soon as possible.
Over the next day, we took it upon ourselves to care as best as we could for the pups whilst liaising with Lesley on what to do and how to get them into professional care. We worked together and agreed on Wildlife Haven Rehabilitation Centre (Wildlife Haven) as a suitable destination for the pups. Lesley contacted the rehabilitation centre to stress how important it was that they were to be in good hands and not euthanized unless there was absolutely no other option due to health complications.
By mid afternoon we organized the four hour drive to Ile des Chenes and were on our way. Wildlife Haven insisted they would stay open for however long it took for us to arrive. We were greeted by Dan and Tiffany who then took over caring for the pups. We shed a few tears but Lesley’s compassion and experience assured us it was the right thing to do. As we left Wildlife Haven, we knew they would be well looked after and if we ever wanted an update they would be more than willing. A week later we saw them on the Winnipeg news and knew they were safe and sound.
On behalf of Coyote Watch Canada we say with deep gratitude THANK YOU to Melissa and Dan for sharing such a heartwarming story. Also thank you to all of their compassionate, caring family members that gave this special coyote family a second chance. We would like to thank Wildlife Haven Rehabilitation Centre for their professionalism when they were contacted about arranging for the care of the pups and agreeing to taking them in. Thank you Wildlife Haven for all of the vital life saving work done each and everyday for Manitoba’s wildlife families.
Special Note: Coyote parents mate for life, are devoted and diligent and share in the co-parenting duties. Coyotes do not abandon their families. We fear the worst happened to both parents and commend Melissa, her uncle, family and Dan for acting as swiftly as they did to rescue the ten pups.
Coyote Watch Canada is an all volunteer, Federal Incorporated Not For Profit organization that fosters advocacy, education outreach and support for individuals and communities nationwide and beyond. Please help us continue to make a compassionate difference for wild lives by donating today. Thank you!