Brave canine saves sister from coyote attack; Sophie soon to be ready for adoption at Woodward Center

Many consider Helen Woodward Animal Center staffers heroic in their constant quest to save orphaned pets, but one very unique 2-year-old Maltipoo has the staffers in awe of her heroic efforts to save her newly-adopted sister. She did what some may consider impossible – the tiny dog took on a coyote to protect the 7-month old puppy she had only just come to know.

The East County family who acquired Sophie in June of 2011, say she was an undeniably cuddly pup with the personality of a teddy bear. With no signs of aggression, Sophie lived the life of a pampered pet for over a year when her family decided to bring another Maltipoo pup, named Lulu, into their household. The two bonded fairly quickly and lived together for several months when the unthinkable happened… As the two dogs went running out to play on their large backyard property, a coyote stepped out of the brush and went for the younger puppy. Sophie’s family said that they heard a cry and ran out to see Sophie step in front of her sister and take on the coyote herself. The family was able to scare the coyote away, but not before Sophie suffered surface wounds to her neck, right shoulder and side. Lulu remained unharmed, just as Sophie had hoped.

Sophie’s family took her to a local veterinarian where she was stitched up and put on antibiotics. Sophie’s family, however, had a different sort of pain to deal with. Due to the rural location of their east San Diego property, Sophie’s family feared that they would not be able to protect their vulnerable dogs from the hungry search of local wildlife. With heavy hearts, Sophie and Lulu were surrendered to Helen Woodward Animal Center last Saturday, Jan. 12. Happily, within only a matter of days, Lulu was adopted by a family who lived in a more residential area and was happy to give her a second chance in a forever home.

The heroic Sophie still has more healing to do and is now thriving under Center veterinary care where she is being closely monitored. She will be available for adoption at Helen Woodward Animal Center in approximately two weeks. If you would like to adopt Sophie, contact Helen Woodward Animal Center Adoption Department at: 858-756-4117 ext. 313, visit or stop by at 6461 El Apajo Road in Rancho Santa Fe.

If you live near canyons or mountain areas, take these precautions that could save your pet’s life:

Use caution at night:

Pets should be kept indoors from dusk until dawn. If your dog needs to relieve himself during these hours, accompany him on a short leash.

Avoid taking your dog on a nighttime walk.

Nighttime is the prime time Coyotes hunt for food. If you must take your puppy on an evening walk, use a very short leash.

Install a fence:

Backyard fences should be at least 6 feet high to prevent coyotes from leaping over. Coyotes are also known to dig, so installing vinyl lattice 2 to 3 feet below ground is suggested to prevent tunneling.

Leave no food in your yard:

This includes always feeding your dog inside; cleaning the yard of any fallen apples, berries or other fruits from existing fruit trees and; securing the lids on all garbage cans.