They’d Be There Any Minute
After seeing her dog of two years do something unimaginable, she decided that things weren’t normal. She had a lot to think about now that there was no going back.
Had she been blind to this the entire time? She decided to finally see the truth for what it was. Su Yun knew it was too late now and that the authorities would be there any minute.
Su Yun thought she knew what she was getting herself into. She had done the research, read the reviews, and familiarised herself with exotic dog breeds. She had made all the necessary purchases — dog bed, collar, lead, shampoo, engraved tag.
She thought they were ready for the commitment. But as he began to outgrow his bed and collar and lead, she began to worry. Then, the unimaginable happened.
It all began innocently enough. Su Yun lived in Kunming City, China with her two young children and her husband.
The hardworking mother was feeling the pressure of juggling family life and a full-time job, so she decided that it was high time for a holiday. But what Su Yun didn’t know was that fate had a surprise waiting for her.
With bags packed and ready for their eagerly-awaited Asian trip, the Yuns embarked on the vacation that would change their lives. Little did they know, two years down the line their mistake would be making headlines. A few days after their arrival, the family was just beginning to get into holiday mode when they came across a litter of puppies.
Meant To Be?
The sight of the adorable balls of fluff instantly had the children pleading with their parents. Although Su Yun and her husband had given adopting a family dog some consideration over the past few weeks, they hadn’t expected to find what they were looking for here, of all places.
Perhaps it was meant to be, Su thought as she held one to her chest. But Su didn’t realize exactly what bringing one of these pups home would entail.
The man who sold the Yuns their new puppy had warned that it was a Tibetan Mastiff and that he could be expected to stand two feet tall when he reached his full size!
The Yuns were ecstatic with their new family member and humorously named him “Little Black.” They had no idea that this particular little pup would become a pretty big problem…
The family felt their bond with their new puppy growing by the day, and soon it was time to return home to Kunming City with their new family member. It was also time to make a decision about where he would sleep.
Although the warm climate in Kunming City allowed for dogs to sleep outside, the Yuns decided that Little Black would be an inside dog. Little Black was more than happy to stay close to his new family. But it wasn’t long before the family began to notice something odd about Little Black.
Su Yun thought it was a bit strange that no matter what dog food she’d lay out in front of him, he wouldn’t eat it. The only foods he would eat with enthusiasm were noodles and fruit, and Su obliged.
But, being new to dog ownership, she didn’t think much of it and chalked it down to him being fussy. But soon, Little Black was eating her out of the house.
Every day, Little Black would devour an entire box of mixed fruits and two buckets of noodles… and his appetite showed no sign of slowing down! By the time Little Black was a year old, Su Yun had spent a fortune on his food.
And aside from his unusual preference for noodles and fruit, the family began to notice some other worrying characteristics about their new dog. They never thought that there could be legal troubles down the road…
Although Su Yun had expected Little Black to grow up to be a large dog, she wasn’t prepared for just how large he was getting. At two years old, Little Black was now three feet tall and weighed a staggering 250 pounds – much larger than even the seller had anticipated.
But, one day, Su Yun saw Little Black doing something so disturbing in the kitchen that it raised all the red flags.
Su Yun walked in to see Little Black standing on his hind legs. Su had seen other dogs stand up like a human while doing tricks or begging for food, but this was different.
It was finally time to come to grips that there was something very strange about this dog. Then, she started to become frightened.
This pup was growing so fast that the family started feeling scared around their dog. Not visible as a puppy were certain features, like the size of his teeth.
Little Black was now constantly standing on his hind legs, he disliked walking on all fours. With his size and his enormous white teeth, it was becoming a little frightening to be around him. But Su Yun was still in denial.
Moving Him Outside
While Su Yun was pushing her fears down, Little Black had started to get a reputation among the neighbors. Walking the enormous dog had become a spectacle, and soon he was too big to live inside the house.
The family built him a makeshift dog house in the yard. But, of course, simply moving him outside didn’t make their problems go away.
Now that Little Black was an outside dog, Su Yun expected him to start behaving like one. You would think that he would have taken to guarding the house against intruders and barking at anything that moved.
But he never did. Now that Su Yun thought about it, the only sound she’d ever heard him make was a low growl. It was becoming very clear that she had made a huge mistake.
The bigger Little Black grew, the larger Su Yun’s fears became. Something just didn’t add up. She began to research normal Tibetan Mastiff behavior, but what she found only added to her fears.
She posted a photograph of Little Black online, and a vet on the forum informed her that he’d have to call the police!
A Tibetan Bear
Little Black was actually an enormous black bear! The vet told her that he was no ordinary black bear, either. He was an Asiatic black bear, also known as a Tibetan Bear or Himalayan Bear.
These bears can reach a height of six feet and weigh a whopping 440 pounds! Then, he told her some information that made her heart drop.
Laws in China prohibit owning a bear of any kind, and it’s an offense punishable by jail! Su Yun was indeed in a dire situation. As much as she had grown to love Little Black, she knew she couldn’t keep him.
What if he became aggressive toward her or her children? It just wasn’t worth the risk. In desperation, she thought that she could do something before the authorities became involved. Her first course of action was to call the local zoo.
Out Of Options
Unfortunately, the zoo wouldn’t even consider taking Little Black in without the proper paperwork – and she didn’t have his birth certificate. Furthermore, they had bought the bear while on holiday and had no way of contacting the man who had sold him.
Su Yun had no recourse. Caught between a rock and a hard place, she had no choice but to call the police herself. Little did she know, they were already coming for her.
The Police Arrive
Within the hour, the police had arrived at her home with wildlife experts in tow. They had been tipped off by the vet who had seen her post in an animal behaviorist forum. Su Yun had some explaining to do.
She described the predicament she had gotten into and cooperated with the officers, trying to give them all the information they needed to find Little Black a safe new home. But what would the consequences be?
“The more [Little Black] grew, the more like a bear he looked,” Su Yun explained. Then she admitted that she was “a little scared of bears.”
The police stayed with Su Yun, gathering information, while wildlife officials went out to Little Black to examine him. They checked him over for any injuries or signs of malnourishment while Su Yun awaited the verdict.
A Healthy, Happy Bear
Officials found Little Black to be well-fed and healthy. Now, they would have to tranquilize him so that they could transport him to the local wildlife center.
When he arrived, experts were floored – Su Yun had indeed been keeping a dangerous Asiatic Bear in her backyard! It wasn’t long before the media caught wind of Su Yun’s big mistake.
A Media Sensation
The biggest question everyone wanted an answer to was: how had Su Yun and her family had been oblivious to the fact that their “puppy” was actually an enormous wild animal?
It wasn’t long before National Geographic stepped in and covered the story, causing a public outcry and becoming a viral sensation overnight. Now, with all eyes on her, Su Yun was painfully aware that she may face jail time.
More Often Than You Might Think
With all the media attention and public outrage, something surprising happened. People began to share their own stories about adopting domestic animals, only to find out some time later that they were another animal entirely.
National Geographic stated that this is not the only case and that it happens a lot more often than you may think. But would Su Yun have to pay for her mistake?
Cooperating With The Authorities
Fortunately for Su Yun, her continued cooperation with the authorities was acknowledged and served a key role in their decision about her punishment.
She reiterated that the incident was unfortunate but had been a case of mistaken identity. After all, the man who had sold her Little Black had claimed that he was a Tibetan Mastiff!
Safe And Sound
Su Yun avoided jail time, despite the Asiatic Bears’ protected species status. And although having Little Black moved to a sanctuary nearby was the best decision for the family — and for his own sake — they still miss the pet they knew and looked after for two years.
The good news is that the story has a happy ending: Little Black will continue to live out his days on the reserve and is in good hands. But, as we mentioned, these mix-ups with canines have happened more than once.
Andrea Athie from Cuidad Victoria, Mexico, was an avid animal lover. She donated to the many shelters in the area and often volunteered her time for animal welfare.
And whenever she saw a stray dog, cat, or any other animal that needed her help, she always did what she could. But this time, she was about to get herself into a world of trouble…
A Rude Awakening
Andrea loved to drive on the highway. With nothing but a few other cars between her and the open road, she leaned over to turn the radio up when she heard her favorite song come on.
Suddenly, out of the blue, the screeching of tires ahead of her made her snap to attention. Peering over the wheel to see what had happened, she saw something brown dash across the road.
A Stray Dog
She stopped her car abruptly and pulled over, looking for the animal that she had seen dash across the road. It didn’t take long for her to find it. When she saw that it was a dog, her heart broke.
With no other choice, she knew she had to rush the poor animal to the nearest vet in the area… before it was too late.
There were two things running through Andrea’s mind as she spied the dog on the side of the road. One was that someone had abandoned him or he had gotten lost — he was thin and obviously had an injury.
But the other, more pressing issue was how she was going to get him into her car. Either way, she was left with no choice. She only hoped that he was friendly.
Andrea approached the dog carefully and slowly, trying not to startle it. But, despite being in pain, he wagged his tail and eagerly approached her. It was almost as if he knew that she was trying to help.
She managed to shepherd him into the car. But she’d overlooked a very important detail.
Searching For The Owner
Andrea snapped a few pictures of the cute dog, hoping that if she shared them on social media his owner would see them and come forward. He was brown and grey in color and rather large, like a German shepherd or a husky mix.
Andrea’s heart melted when he covered her face with doggy kisses. But when she got to the vet, things started to get a bit weird.
Andrea was growing quite attached to the dog, so she decided to call him Pancho. But when she arrived at the vet, people were not impressed.
The vet was part of an animal rescue center, so Andrea hoped that the dog would be cared for until they were able to find a new home for him. Little did she know, it wouldn’t be so easy.
Taking To Social Media
Before Andrea handed the impossibly friendly pup over to the capable people at the animal center, she snapped some more photos to remember him by.
She wanted to post these pictures on social media again and see if she could get a lead as to who Pancho’s owner was. Or was there more to this story?
Causing A Stir
Other than a cruel-hearted human owner who had abandoned Pancho, there may be another theory. It crossed Andrea’s mind. Perhaps, and it was unlikely, but just perhaps a stray mother dog had given birth in that area.
But Pancho was so friendly that she couldn’t help but think that he had had a loving home once. Meanwhile, her photos were causing quite a stir on Twitter and Facebook.
While she sat with Poncho, who had his head in her lap, waiting to be seen by the vet, Andrea scrolled through the comments on the pictures she had posted.
But what she found out on Facebook wasn’t what she expected. Instead of offers of good homes for Pancho, people started saying some pretty strange things.
When a keen-eyed Facebook user saw the photos of the adorable pup on Facebook, she took a double-take. She didn’t want to cause a stir if she wasn’t right, so she carefully checked her information.
What immediately stood out was the dog’s snout. But there was another telltale sign that Pancho wasn’t a dog at all!
What Is It?
Suddenly, Andrea’s Facebook post exploded with people starting to speculate as to what the “dog” could be. Hundreds of posts came through in minutes, flooding the post with speculation and doubt.
Wolfdog experts weighed in, and anything and everything seemed to be fair game in the contest of ‘what animal is it?’ Some of the suggestions were astonishing. That’s when Andrea realized that she may have made a huge mistake.
Not A Dog
The general public seemed to think that Pancho was not a pup at all, in fact, one commenter was completely sure that he was something else entirely. There were specific details that lead people to believe that Andrea hadn’t found a stray dog.
For one, he had a long nose. Sure, it could be that some dogs have long noses, but there were other strange things, too.
Another Facebook user noticed that Pancho’s tail was unlike any pup’s he had ever seen. It was long… very long. To him, he was sure that the pup was, in fact, some type of wild dog.
But why had he allowed Andrea to pick him up and drive him to the vet? Something wasn’t adding up here.
Posting the pictures online seemed to be getting Andrea nowhere, everything was speculation and guesswork.
Her initial reason for posting online was simply to see if they could find where the ‘pup’ came from and, in the best-case scenario, to see if they could secure a wonderful forever home for the abandoned fur-baby. But when the vet pointed at Pancho’s ears, Andrea knew.
The information Andrea received was something that sent shock waves through her. It came directly from a vet, so she knew the information was founded on truth and knowledge.
One thing was for certain now, Pancho wasn’t what he seemed to be. And he definitely wasn’t a dog at all.
A Wild Coyote
“Today my sister picked up a COYOTE thinking it was a run over dog and took it to the vet,” her brother Alejandro Athie tweeted, along with the photos of Andrea with the friendly coyote snuggling in her lap.
But although Anthea had now realized her mistake, her feelings for Pancho hadn’t changed. But would he make it?
Andrea tweeted, “Coyote Pancho today begins a 5-day treatment to see if he can recover mobility in his back legs… He doesn’t want to eat or cooperate to try to move after his treatments.”
Sadly, things weren’t looking good for the friendly coyote. He had broken bones in his one leg and was refusing to eat. But then, a miracle happened.
The rehabilitation center posted an update about their patient’s well-being. The vets noted that the fact that the coyote did not attack Andrea or the attending officers was a sign that he was “pretty banged up.”
But, happily, he is regaining his appetite and strength each day. They plan to release Pancho back into the wild as soon as he is ready.
People from all over the world had seen Andrea’s story, and soon she and Pancho had become an online sensation. Conservationists were quick to point out the lesson in Andrea’s tale.
Handling wildlife should always be conducted by a professional to promote the safety of both the animal and the people rescuing it. But Andrea’s confusion between domestic dogs and coyotes is a common one — they are similar in size, shape, and coloring.