Staff members at Animal Rescue Team have learned to expect a surprise or two from the coyote they rescued just six weeks ago.
After all, she was the same animal who survived a 30-foot drop into a dried-out riverbed, dehydration, exposure to poison and, yes, a gunshot to the head.
But they didn't expect to open her enclosure for a cleaning this week and find four tiny puppies inside.
The coyote's ordeal, as told by the group on Facebook, began with a gunshot six weeks ago. A bullet fired by an unknown assailant penetrated her frontal lobe, instantly rendering her blind. That would account for her losing her footing.
Animal Rescue Team believes she then tumbled into the drought-stricken Santa Ynez watershed. Her ordeal didn't end there. She may have ingested rat poison along the way, she certainly suffered dehydration — imagine a mash-up of every survival movie ever. Then cast a blind coyote in the lead role.
Finally someone alerted the rescue group to the coyote's plight.
"[Her condition] was so bad she stopped breathing," the group states. "We did CPR until we got her to the vet."
Since then the coyote has been recovering at the rescue's facilities in California's Santa Ynez Valley, where the group keeps a close eye on her.
But she still managed to surprise them with a litter of healthy puppies. And she's already proven devoted to them.
"Although she remains blind, she is the best mother we have ever witnessed," the group said.
The coyote, who doesn't have a name yet, will remain in the rescue's care until her strength returns. Then the organization plans to donate her to a wildlife sanctuary, as she can't survive in the wild with her blindness.
"We believe she deserves to remain alive," the group says..
And as for those miracle puppies? They're staying with mom until they're old enough, and then they will be returned to the wild.
At a safe site, the group adds, where they shouldn't have to worry about gunshots and plunges into water and poisonings.
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