When a coyote built a den near his property, a man in Fort Erie, Canada, hoped he would soon bear witness to the sweet cinema of life.
And not long after that, the yips and mewls of newborn puppies filled the air.
Then things took an unsettling turn for the silent.
Mom hadn’t been back to the den for a day. And another day.
The man decided to call his local SPCA, who promptly got in touch with Chantal Theijn, a wildlife rehabilitator at Hobbitstee Wildlife Refuge.
Theijn has a long history of taking in nature’s orphans and injured, nursing the animals back to health and releasing them back into the wild.
"Once it was established that these guys were in pretty poor condition, we made the decision to take them from the den," she tells MNN.
'They were indeed orphans'
The decision wasn’t taken lightly. Often a mother in the wild will disappear for extended periods looking for food for her young. People often mistakenly think the pups are abandoned — and make the mistake of taking them from their home.
"We don’t want to make orphans where there isn’t any," Theijn says.
But in this case, the decision proved to be timely one.
"Upon arrival it was pretty obvious they were in horrendous shape," Theijn explains. "They were indeed orphans."
At just 4 or 5 days old, all eight puppies were infested with parasites. They were shivering cold. And very dehydrated.
Each baby weighed in at a skeletal 210 grams.
But it didn’t take long for nourishment and love to line those bones, doubling their weight in a matter of weeks. And when they started to open their eyes, these pups were greeted by a bright big world, full of hope.
And, as a video recorded earlier this week at the refuge shows, they’re literally howling for more.
You can follow the road to recovery for these young coyotes here.
This is an inspiring tale, but keep in mind, too, that it’s illegal in much of Canada and the United States to keep wildlife. If you find animals in trouble, call a local wildlife refuge or rehabilitator.