How Mimi the chihuahua is alive, its owner is uncertain.
The 12-pound dog was taken from the backyard of her Cibolo, Texas home by a coyote, Zoey Ward told McClatchy News, but then came back on all fours, bloodied but alive.
It happened around 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, February 13, Ward said. The weather was fine, at least by February standards, and Ward, her beagle, Joey, and her chihuahua, Mimi, hadn’t been out for more than 15 minutes when the commotion started, she said.
Mimi’s barking turned to yelps and then silence, while her beagle companion’s howls continued.
Ward rushed over but Mimi was gone.
“The coyote took Mimi through a little opening in the fence… he ripped her off and I guess she took off with her,” Ward told McClatchy.
“It was extremely daring,” she said.
Calling out the dog’s name, she looked over the greenbelt near her house and saw no sign there either. She could hear yapping in the distance, she said.
Ward’s fears that his pet Chihuahua could disappear for good were growing. Mimi’s fate seemed even more certain when Ward glanced around the greenbelt again and saw the coyote.
“The coyote was looking at me and I was looking at him,” she said. “She was a beautiful creature.”
But it was too early to count Mimi out, as soon after the little dog reappeared, running towards the fence, bloody but alive, Ward said.
With Joey the beagle safely inside, Ward grabbed Mimi and immediately headed to an emergency veterinary clinic in San Antonio.
Mimi suffered four puncture wounds, two on either side of her ribs, as well as “very severe bruising” on her stomach, Ward said, but x-rays show no serious internal injuries.
Ward hopes other dog owners will learn from his experience.
“Honestly, I didn’t think the coyotes would get close if a human was there too,” she said, adding that she would now be much more aware.
Her neighbors fixed the gap in her fence, she said, something she didn’t think she needed to worry about with her pets.
“Take your precautions. Even if it’s a small gap, even if you know your dog isn’t going to escape, try to fill it as soon as possible.
How Mimi escaped the coyote, or why he let her go, Ward isn’t sure. The 7-year-old Chihuahua is feisty and not afraid to use her teeth, but she couldn’t have matched the coyote.
Either way, Ward is happy that Mimi survived and is recovering well.
“For what happened, I think she’s doing fine,” she said.
Although direct attacks on humans are rare, human-coyote conflicts often focus on companion animals, usually cats and dogs, experts say.
“Attacks on dogs typically occur in the presence of people or on residential properties associated with people,” according to a University of Nebraska study. “Small dogs can be captured at any time of the year, but attacks on large dogs are usually associated with the mating and breeding season (January to April).”
Cibolo is about 10 miles northeast of San Antonio.