Small dog puts up big fight against backyard coyote

It was a normal evening in the Samarasena household, until the family noticed their beloved pup Max hadn’t come back inside. Upon searching for the Shih Tzu mix, Isurangie and her daughter found him on their doorstep, bloodied from a coyote attack.

“It was a Thursday evening,” Isurangie remembers. “We always let Max go out after dinner but then it started to get dark and the area was experiencing power cuts at the time. After about 20 minutes he usually comes in but this time he didn’t, so we began to worry.”

They began looking for Max and calling his name around their property before opening the door and finding that the brave little dog had put up a valiant fight and managed to make his way back to the house. Max’s coyote confrontation has earned him a nomination for the 2020 Hambone Award.

Isurangie took Max to the VCA Care and Specialty Emergency Hospital in Santa Barbara, Calif., where the staff began working on him immediately, concerned that he could have internal injuries. Fortunately, Max only needed treatment for lacerations and made a quick recovery.

Since going through this scary experience, Isurangie recommends that all pet owners remain vigilant in knowing their pets’ whereabouts: “Especially if you live in an area like mine, it is very hilly with a lot of coyotes and bobcats with not a lot of safety perimeters. If your pet is not back when they should be, you need to look for them.”

Additionally, Isurangie recommends getting pet insurance for all of your pets. “If you love someone, person or pet, you should take care of them if you can,” she says. “Since I have insurance for my family, then I felt like I needed insurance for my pet.”


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