After following the puppy for quite some time, Gwen Maxwell was sure something was wrong. However, nothing could have ever prepared her for what she was about to see. As she finally got close to the little animal, it became clear that he’d been involved in a terrible accident.
In May 2013 Maxwell decided to take an early morning walk in her neighborhood in Arizona. As she stepped outside of her front door, though, the then 85-year-old noticed something pretty unusual: there was a little pup running across the deserted street.
Maxwell instantly became worried that this was someone’s missing pet. So she decided to follow the animal for a while to see where it was heading. However, the pup seemed skittish and quickly hid in some bushes to the side of Maxwell’s house.
The little animal remained there for hours. And when it finally reemerged, Maxwell became aware of the true scale of the predicament. You see, the critter was not a dog but a coyote, and painful cholla cactus covered the animal’s little body.
The awful sight was deeply upsetting for Maxwell. The excruciating spikes had impaled the poor creature’s legs, knees and shoulders. They were all over his face, too. “He’d get up and tumble around with all those chollas on him, and it was just so heartbreaking,” Maxwell told CBS 5 in 2013.
That’s when Maxwell called on a neighbor for help. Soon, Shawn Bordine and Jose Soto, two workers from nearby Pebblebrook Golf Course, arrived on the scene. However, so did the little coyote’s mother; the helpless animal looked on as her baby writhed around in agony.
But working together, Soto and Bordine did everything they could to help the small pup. Indeed, Soto donned a pair of thick gloves and held the frightened coyote still. Meanwhile, Bordine used a pair of pliers to remove each individual needle from the animal’s skin.
Despite what must have been an awful ordeal, the coyote happily let the strangers help him. It was as though he knew they had kind intentions. “As Jose held him, I was able to pull stickers out of his mouth,” Bordine revealed to CBS 5. “He didn’t bite or make a sound.”
Coyotes are common throughout the state of Arizona, and some people consider the animals to be pests. That’s because they can carry dangerous diseases and have been known to attack farm animals. Indeed, sheep and poultry are most at risk, but coyotes can kill dogs, too.
As a result, in some states it’s legal to shoot and trap problem coyotes. And because of the close proximity between humans and coyotes, people tend to be wary of these wild animals. However, attacks on humans are not common.
But luckily for this little coyote, people were more than happy to help in his hour of need. “The dangerous cholla cactus spines likely weighed more than the pup herself,” read an update on the Recreation Centers of Sun City West Facebook page in 2013. “Without aid, the pup surely would have died.”
Soto and Bordine checked the little coyote over before releasing him once more. They then spotted his family over on the Pebblebrook Golf Course. So, to give him the best possible chance of survival, the good Samaritans left him with his parents and siblings.
“I’m glad we were able to help, because I hate to see an animal down. It would have killed me if we didn’t do anything,” Bordine told the Daily Mail in 2013. “I have a dog, and I would want someone to help if my dog was hurt.”
Thanks to their actions, the two men were inundated with kind comments online. “Such a heartwarming story. You guys are great for helping him,” one Facebook user wrote. Another added, “Happy to see the little guy is okay. Bless the maintenance crew.”
The rescue also sparked a friendship between the three rescuers. “Pebblebrook Golf Course workers Shawn Bordine and Jose Soto have made a good friend in Sun City West resident Gwen Maxwell,” revealed a post on Facebook. “The trio’s quick actions on Tuesday helped save our cute coyote pup who’s garnered so much attention.”
“Thanks to all three of you,” the post continued. “You’re three of the many reasons Sun City West is a fantastic place to live, work and play!” The heartwarming caption was posted alongside a picture of the threesome smiling happily.
Soto and Bordine pledged to keep an eye on the coyote’s progress. And just hours after his agonizing ordeal, the team spotted the pup with his father. The doting dad licked his baby’s wounds and played with him in a bid to cheer him up.
Incredibly, Soto and Bordine have come to the aid of troubled animals before. A year prior to the coyote rescue, they helped a young red-tailed hawk that had somehow been dislodged from its nest. Thanks to them, it seems that the animals who call the golf course home will always have a helping hand.
In fact, in the months after the coyote incident, the pair also rescued a barn owl. The dynamic duo had spotted the animal struggling on the golf course. So they cornered it and managed to bring it to safety.
While some people might have saw a pest or a villain, when Maxwell, Soto and Bordine rescued the coyote they simply saw an animal in need. Without their intervention, it’s not known if the pup would have survived. Now, the group will always be remembered for helping an animal out of a very prickly situation.