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Small dog saves puppy from coyote

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SAN DIEGO — A small dog took on a coyote in her owners’ East County back yard to prevent it from eating a 7-month-old puppy, shelter officials said Monday.

Sophie DogThe brave dog , a 2-year-old Maltipoo named Sophie, was bitten on her neck, right shoulder and side, but she prevented the coyote from hurting Lulu, the family’s 7-month-old Maltipoo, according to the Helen Woodward Animal Center.

Sophie had lived a pampered life since her East County family brought her home in June 2011, and when the family brought home Lulu last year, she quickly bonded with the younger dog. But in early January, a coyote got into the family’s back yard while the dogs were playing and went for the puppy.

Family members heard a yelp, and when they went outside to check, they saw Sophie between the coyote and Luly, according to HWAC. After the coyote attacked the dog, family members scared it off.HWAC dog Sophie-3 lr

The family took the injured dog to a veterinarian, who stitched her up and put her on antibiotics.

After the attack, the family decided the yard was too dangerous for dog, so they took them to HWAC. Another family adopted Lulu in a matter of days. Sophie is still healing and won’t be available for adoptions for another two weeks, HWAC officials said.

Anyone interested in adopting Sophie can contact the HWAC at 858-756-4117 or visit the shelter’s website.


    • Sharon

      Aww, she sounds like just the sort of dog I've been looking for to replace my cairn terrier (lost him to pancreatic cancer three years ago). I'd always said that when the time was right, the right dog would come to us. My Andrew was so loyal, he loved all children, and when I found an abandoned newborn kitten (she has a deformed nose and couldn't nurse – I syringe fed her) he was so happy, I could just see his thoughts: 'You got me a BABY! I always wanted my own baby! I'll love her forever, I promise!' and he did. When they were older, we would see him chasing her one way down the hall, and then the cat chasing him back the other way.

      Sophie sounds like the kind of loyal, 'knows her family' dog that Andrew was.

      I wish I didn't live on the opposite coast, or I'd be there signing papers as soon as I was allowed!

  • Mark

    I think it sucks that Sophie performed a noble act of bravery and her reward was to have her family torn apart.

    • Joan

      I agree. What kind of people would do this. There had to be another solution other than seperating them and dumping in the shelter. How cold!

    • Gisela Liranza

      I'm with you – what a rotten thing to do: Sophie was so brave in defending the puppy and all it got her was getting bitten and beaten, and then put out by the family. What a rotten thing to do to any creature! If the yard is dangerous, then don't leave the dogs alone – supervise them.

    • Mom

      How horrible that they were making these two small breed dogs live outside. I'm sad for the ogs to be separated and lose their home, but I hope that the owners never get another dog.

    • Charles

      Absolutely agree! At least keep them together… That bond is what prompted the intervention to begin with… FAIL

    • ed stockwell

      I was just thinking the same thing. she did something great and her reward is put her in a shelter. They ought to be

  • Michael

    I split up with my wife 6 months ago. I got 2 of the 5 dogs. We have been getting along and so we have been getting doggy visitations for all of them once every month or two. LOL…but the dogs SHOULD have been kept together. It is sad the owners insist on them being outside and couldn't allow them in even parts of the house? They were both pretty small it seems?? ANYWAYS…..GL on finding a good home for this awesome Maltipoo. My Hollybear is one also..and I wouldn't let her go to anyone else…EVER! Plus I have her husband and they are inseparable…PERIOD. Nice story…TY Fox!!

    • Matt

      Dude, I am in the same exact boat with my Boston Terriers. My wife and I divorced in October. We have 3 together and then I got 1 more on my own. We meet at the half way point (about 15 miles for each of us) and exchange dogs just so they can be kept together. How could they A. let small breed dogs live outside, B. get rid of them, especially after this happened, C. separate them. DISGRACE

  • Jamie

    Really! How about keeping Sophie indoors! Would that be too much of a burden for such a brave and loyal heroine?

    • janet

      You are correct. Rewarded for saving the puppy by bringing to a shelter. These jerks don't deserve to have a pet!

  • guest

    Seriously?….why could they not have been put up for adoption together? What should have been a happy story turned into a sad one :(

    • dpdeepee

      She's convalescing and I bet their adoption coordinators have a list of applicants on her already. It's really a happy story…look at it this, in the next few years there can be another incident of being outside and maybe next time won't be so fortunate. Keeping them inside isn't the answer. These people are doing them a favor to place them where they'll not be in danger of coyotes. There's been a couple of actresses that have their dogs killed by coyotes so at least we know coyotes won't be an issue for these two in the future.
      Anyone who wants to bring Sophie home can call the Helen Woodward Animal Center Adoption Department at (858) 756-4117, ext. 313; visit; or stop by the shelter at 6461 El Apajo Road in Rancho Santa Fe.

      The animal center suggested that people whose properties border open country should:

      avoid leaving pets out at night;
      put up a fence at least 6 feet tall that cannot be tunneled under easily;
      use leashes to walk animals at night; and
      bring in pet food at night.

  • Maltipoo

    A Maltipoo is what happens when you breed a poodle and a Maltese. Showing your ignorance on TV isn't exactly professional.

  • guest

    I never allow my small dogs to be outside by themselves. It's way to dangerous… human thieves, hawks, coyotes, other dogs, foxes, rabid opossums, raccoons, or cats. How can someone leave such small dogs outside in the elements?

  • woody

    I thought that this was going to be a feel good story, and it was for awhile, until the A-hole owners decided to give the dogs up after they had bonded together. How about splitting the owners up and putting them in cages down at the inhumane society? Shoot the coyote. Don't punish the dogs because of the coyote. As Forest once said, "Stupid is as stupid does!"

    • Gisela Liranza

      Oh, nobody could have said it better. It's people who are idiots, not the animals, so why are the animals punished because of the irresponsibility of the humans?

    • D. W.

      The coyote isn't doing anything wrong. It is simply being a coyote and trying to live. It is the people who have moved into areas where coyotes have already lived and then complaining that is the problem. People need to learn to coexist and not just destroy what doesn't fit their idea of a perfect neighborhood. Supervise the dogs when you have them outside, don't just leave them alone. For those that say to shoot the coyote, for just trying to live, you suck!

  • Elena Angelin

    What a brave dog. I cant believe what the owners did, that dog saved their puppys life they should thank the dog what amazing thing he has done not send him for adoption I would love my dogs even more not send them for adoption. They should love their dog even more then ever not send her for adoption. People are very rude these days!!

  • LuvAnimals

    WHAT?! How heartless these people are!! Sophie should be healing in her comfortable home, NOT in an animal shelter!! And to make things worse, the dogs were separated! So Sophie is all alone in a strange place trying to recover from a coyote attack. Had these people been outside with their dogs, the coyote would not have entered the yard. I have 3 dogs; 2 of them are large, but I am always with them when they are outside. I did see a coyote in my yard one morning. There was a fox the other day. A woodchuck lived under the shed for a couple of years. Getting rid of my dogs has NEVER crossed my mind. This family should be ashamed!!

  • Cell34

    Only way this story would be worse is if that idiot family wound up adopting the coyote.

    Dear Mr. Coyote, please break into their house and destroy absolutely everything worth anything inside. Feel free to relieve yourself everywhere as well. If possible, bring your friends along.

    Every single person in America that has a heart.

  • Dog Lover

    Nice reward for a good dog. Take her beloved friend away and send her to an unfamiliar place. Poetic justice.

  • Kali

    This is ridiculous. Why can't the owners put up a fence and/or go outside when their dogs are outside? It seems to me that the owners were looking for an excuse to get rid of the dogs. I hope the dogs get a forever home next time and that the owners don't get anymore pets.

  • dog lover

    i do not like this story, I am very disappointed in the family who gave away 2 members of their family instead of making their back yard safe. This is not a good outcome and I am highly disappointed in these peoples love of their dogs. This dog showed its bravery and love for the family and is rewarded with taking it to the shelter. Karma will come for them

    • Matt

      Doesn't sound like they were part of the family. They kept them outside 100% of the time. Why get a dog if the dog is going to live outside? I never understood people that have dogs that have never seen the inside of their house.

  • Kent Jagger

    The owners didn't decide the backyard was too dangerous, they decided they were too lazy!!! What a bunch of A holes!!!!

  • Kat

    Backyard is dangerous so they give up their dogs. I sure hope they don't have kids! They need to be put on a list that all shelters, pet stores, and breeders get, a list of people who are not qualified to own animals of any kind. I can understand not shooting the coyote since it was just doing what they do, but there is absolutely no reason for the dogs to be outside 100% of the time AND to have no fence. Just senseless!

  • lala

    Thats dumb why didnt they just build a better fence for there yard. I have coyotes where i live and a 5 foot chain link fence keeps them out.

  • ian harris

    i have a rottixgerman shepherd and a rottixbull mastiff…..very big lads….i'd be proud to call this small dog mine

  • julee

    this family obviously does not love their pets and has zero loyalty, and couldnt even keep them together to put up for adoption. hope they dont get any more pets. losers!


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