With no owner and no home, the dog had been living in the wild for what seemed like forever. And while he was constantly alert to danger, one day it was unavoidable. He had stumbled into a coyote pack’s territory, and they were closing in on this trespasser.
In 2016 Sarah Nace – an admin for the animal rescue group Lost Pets of Hudson Valley – spotted a stray dog. The animal had occasionally been seen running loose near the power lines of her home in Kingston, New York. There was something unusual about these sightings, however.
That’s because the stray wasn’t by himself. In fact, he had been observed running with a pack of wild coyotes – and this could make a rescue difficult. Nace then called in the report, and subsequently Buddha Dog Rescue & Recovery (BDRR) was asked for assistance.
BDRR’s founder, Nicole Asher, later spoke to The Dodo about the report. “He was being sighted constantly, playing with them [the coyotes], running with them,” she recalled. “How he integrated with them we don’t know. We have no idea.”
Asher did explain, though, that such behavior isn’t as uncommon as it might appear to be. “It’s not unheard of. There are coy dogs out there, coyote-dog hybrids that happen when dogs and coyotes mate,” she said. What is unusual, however, is getting to witness the different animals’ interactions.
The primary reason for this is that coyotes are wary creatures, and people and big dogs can unnerve them. Hence, they often keep their distance. But as with human beings, the temperaments of coyotes can vary. And sometimes they give in to their curiosity and have been observed interacting with dogs.
Coyotes have even been known to take doggy playmates, in fact, although it’s not established whether this was the case in Kingston. Regardless, BDRR concluded that since the stray wasn’t a wild dog, he would be happier with a human. Consequently, people in the organization set out to capture him.
Asher told The Dodo how they had attempted to bring the dog into BDRR’s care. “The first thing we needed to do was get the dog constantly coming back to a certain spot,” she explained. “We set up a feeding station monitored by a trail camera.”
And through the camera, BDRR caught sight of the dog’s coyote meet-and-greet. “His coyote buddies would just show up,” Asher recalled. The dog, meanwhile, must have been starving, as he headed straight for the food; and since he was so eager for the meal, BDRR set up a trap.
After just two nights, in fact, the dog was caught – and he didn’t even react to the cage door closing. “He was a fairly easy trapping,” Asher told The Dodo. Moreover, it’s fortunate that the poor dog was captured, as he was infested with ticks.
Asher subsequently decided to call the pooch Wiley – presumably after Wile. E. Coyote the cartoon character – and took him to get treatment. Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge (RBARI) in turn took Wiley in, and he was bathed and given a medical check-up.
The ticks were removed, and Wiley was tested for any diseases that the parasites might have passed on. And in fact, as a result of the ticks, the dog had contracted anaplasmosis, which can cause anemia as well as affecting the animal’s heart rate. The tests also revealed that Wiley had Lyme disease.
If it goes untreated, Lyme disease can have serious consequences, including loss of facial muscle control. Even in the short-term, the condition causes a skin rash, exhaustion and a plethora of other symptoms. Fortunately, though, rescuers had got to Wiley in time.
Consequently, the poorly pooch was prescribed a set of antibiotics – and lots of TLC. But that wasn’t all; his rescuers also tried to see if anyone was looking for Wiley. If he’d had any previous owners, though, they were untraceable. He was neither neutered nor micro-chipped, so there were no clues to follow up.
“We don’t know if he’s someone’s lost pet; we’ve been scouring the internet, calling the local authorities,” Asher said. “There’ve been no reports of lost dogs fitting his description. We think he was either a stray or dumped.”
Wiley was estimated to be two years old, and he seemed to have spent 18 months or more as a stray. Some of that time was, moreover, of course spent running with wild coyotes. So how did the rescued dog then adapt to a tamer, domesticated life?
Well, Asher can answer that question. “A lot of these rescue dogs are incredibly grateful,” she explained. “People think, ‘Oh my god, they’re gonna be wild,’ but it’s not the case at all.” Wiley is, in fact, a shining example of how well rescue dogs can adjust.
Everyone loves Wiley, by all accounts, and he’s been described by RBARI shelter volunteer Frannie Laurita as “a big marshmallow.” He’s loving, affectionate and can’t get enough of his toys. Indeed, perhaps the only thing that he enjoys as much as playing is being fussed, as his rescue video demonstrates.
And since he’s taken to people so well, Asher believes that it will be time for Wiley to find his fur-ever home soon. “He’s a sweetheart; he was leaning on me [and] smooching on me,” she said. “I think he’s going to be ready for adoption fairly quickly.”
On its Facebook page, meanwhile, BDRR praised the organizations involved with Wiley’s rescue. “Their dedication and love is immeasurable, and I couldn’t do it without them,” it wrote. And as for Wiley’s coyote pals, they’re still in the area – though hopefully they’re not missing him too much. He’s in the best of hands now, after all.