At first all he could hear was what sounded like a dog fight. And, then as he fished during a canoe trip through Saskatchewan’s Red Deer and South Saskatchewan rivers, he spotted something small in the water.
That’s when he fell in and made the catch of his life.
The remarkable tale of a man known only as Justin is being retold by the Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Saskatchewan in an amazing Facebook post this week.
“He heard something in the water squeak – and that’s when he saw some sort of animal swimming in the river,” the organization explained of the unexpected rescue last month. “Its nose was barely above the water and the water was so dark and murky that Justin couldn’t initially tell what kind of animal it was.”
When he reached for the animal, Justin fell into the cold water, but somehow scooped up the drowning coyote pup and pulled them both into his boat.
The pup wasn’t breathing and that’s when Justin saved its life a second time.
“Justin had experience with CPR and was able to do a modified Heimlich manoeuvre by pushing on its belly. After a few pushes, water squirted out of the coyote’s nose and he was breathing again!” the society continued.
They made camp on shore. And for the next 10 days, as Justin had limited cell service, the coyote stayed along for the ride.
He named the pup YipYip.
The coyote would eat and cuddle with Justin. He even slept in a backpack as the unlikely pair rafted along.
Finally, they landed in a spot where Justin could call for help.
Eventually, the Swift Current SPCA helped connect them with the Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Saskatchewan.
And from there, YipYip is onto rehab at a facility in Moose Jaw with some other orphaned pups that will all eventually, hopefully, be returned to the wild.
YipYip is one lucky coyote.
“If it wasn’t for the wonderfully caring Justin, little YipYip would have perished in the river,” the society said. “Thank you Justin!”
It’s a story the world needs.
Be well, YipYip. And bravo, Justin, wherever you are.