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Our dog, Puzzles, was attacked by coyotes in our backyard. She survived because my neighborhood mobilized in seconds to save her. When I opened the back door, Puzzles ran out of the house to chase a coyote out of our yard. I started yelling, and when my neighbor, Maddie Shull, looked out her second-story bedroom window, she saw the coyote running down the canyon with Puzzles in its jaw. Maddie turned to her husband, Bret, and said, “You gotta’ go.” Without hesitating, Bret picked up a golf club and ran 500 some yards down a steep canyon to save Puzzles.

The coyote dropped Puzzle, because the dog was fighting back while being held in the coyote’s jaw. Bob Loftus came from across the canyon to keep the coyotes away while Bret was trying to pick up Puzzles. The coyote had put a 2-inch puncture in Puzzles’ chest and a large puncture under her arm. They were just above the 16th tee box of Shorecliffs Golf Course. Ten of my neighbors were in their backyards trying to save Puzzles. Vicky and Jeff Thomson had the phone number for the 24-Hour Veterinary Medical and Surgical Group. Jeff drove Puzzles and me to Veterinary Medical and Surgical Group-OC.

The veterinarian explained the extent of Puzzles’ wounds. Relief came when he told us that Puzzles would live. Puzzles spent the next two days at VMSG, where she was put in a full-body wrap to stop the bleeding. Thereafter, Puzzles was treated daily by Dr. Angostini of San Clemente Veterinary Hospital.

Think about this: my neighbors mobilized in seconds to save my dog. She received outstanding and gentle emergency care from the 24-Hour VMSG. She was healed by the daily monitoring of her progress by Dr. Angostini and the staff at the local veterinary hospital. This required changing her body bandage daily for eight days.

Maddie and Bret Shull saved my dog. They exemplify how important your neighbors can be and how fortunate you would be to have people like the Shulls, the Thomsons, and the Loftuses as neighbors. I am grateful for my San Clemente community. Living in San Clemente is a privilege that we should all appreciate.

Puzzles recovering at the local vet. Photo: Courtesy
Puzzles recovering at the local vet. Photo: Courtesy

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comments (3)

  • it makes me think of great white sharks and why they should not be protected when their populations increase and incroch on our populated areas ,, bounties on coyotes and great whites artichokes thistles and crows , pigeons on the pier are my thoughts , big concern here is broad daylight might have been a child

  • What an awesome story Cynthia!! Not only did you get a tremendous amount of support, but Puzzles is alive❣️ God bless all of those who helped. And thank you for sharing your story! I wish we could do more to prevent these attacks.

  • Wow, Bret and Maddie are heroes! It’s people like them that make San Clemente such a great town to live in. God bless!

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