Dog Saves 'Sister' From Vicious Coyote Attack—Now Healing and Up for Adoption

An incredible and awe-inspiring story: A 2-year old Maltipoo defends a 7-month-old pup from a vicious coyote attack and survives!

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 county 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, January 12, 2013. 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, please contact Helen Woodward Animal Center Adoption Department at: 858-756-4117 ext. 313, visit animalcenter.org or stop by at 6461 El Apajo Road in Rancho Santa Fe.



  • 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.
  • Helen Woodward Animal Center is a private, non-profit organization where “people help animals and animals help people.” Founded in 1972 in Rancho Santa Fe, the Center provides services for more than 57,000 people and thousands of animals annually through adoptions, educational and therapeutic programs both onsite and throughout the community. Helen Woodward Animal Center is also the creator of the international Home 4 the Holidays pet adoption drive and the Animal Center Education Services program, teaching the business of saving lives to animal welfare leaders from around the world.

    This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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