'Puppy' Rescued From Roadside Turns Out Not To Be A Dog At All

"We soon realized that it wasn’t the average puppy."

This week, a Good Samaritan walked into the Bartlett Police Department in Illinois, carrying a box containing what he believed was a lost puppy.

"He said he was driving by and saw the dog on the side of the road all alone," Sergeant Kyle Rybaski told The Dodo. "He picked it up and brought it in so we would take it to an animal shelter."

But authorities soon discovered that there was something a little different about this supposed puppy.

Bartlett Police Department

Upon closer inspection, Rybaski and his colleagues began to suspect that this was a case of mistaken identity.

The rescued animal seemed very similar to a dog, though she was subtly unlike any puppy they'd run across before.

Bartlett Police Department

"We soon realized that it wasn’t the average puppy. When I picked her up, her fur had a different feel to it. It was wiry," Rybaski said. "Her paws were a bit bigger than the average dog, too. Her sharp nails also drew our attention."

Rybaski began to wonder just who this little creature was.

Bartlett Police Department

Working on a hunch, Rybaski decided to search the internet for photos of baby coyotes — and sure enough:

"We found it looked just like a coyote," he said. "We were very excited. It’s not every day that you get to hold a coyote in your hands. Everybody was like, ‘Aww!’"

Fortunately, the little coyote seemed to be in good health despite apparently having gotten lost from her mother. Still, she was too young to be released on her own, so the police reached out to the Willowbrook Wildlife Center for help. There, she will be cared for in the company of other coyotes so she can retain her wild instincts, after which, with a bit of luck, she'll one day be fit for release.

Willowbrook Wildlife Center

While there was some confusion about this case at first, there's no doubt about one thing — it's one Rybaski and his colleagues won't soon forget.

"It was very rewarding, and it’s good to know that she’ll be taken care of," he said. "It was a really neat experience."

Visit the Willowbrook Wildlife Center's website to find out how you can support this baby coyote's care.