Normally coyote mothers would never let a human get near her pups, but when her curious baby got too close to some cactus, she knew the only options were to let a human help or leave her baby behind.
So when 86-year-old Gwen Maxwell spotted the baby coyote covered in cholla cactus in her backyard, the trusting mother coyote calmly kept her distance so her pup could get help. “I was shocked to see this little one tumbling over and over and over, covered head to foot with these little chunks of cholla,” Maxwell said.
The baby managed to crawl to the nearby Pebblebrook Golf Course, and Maxwell followed and called for help. Golf course worker Jose Soto and assistant superintendent Shawn Bordine rushed over and immediately got to work using pliers to pluck out the cactus spines, which were embedded at least a quarter of an inch into the puppy’s skin.
“As Jose held him, I was able to pull stickers out of his mouth,” Bordine said. “He didn’t bite or make a sound.” The worked as quickly but as carefully as possible since they could see the mother coyote watching, and were stunned by how calm she stayed as they held her baby. “She knew what was going on,” Maxwell said. “They were trying to save her baby.”
Once all the cactus spines were removed, the puppy was left with a few scratches but was otherwise fine, and happily ran off with its mother and siblings.