What would you do if you spotted a sick, injured, or otherwise helpless animal? We’d all like to think that we’d do the right thing and rush to help, but sometimes fear or concern for our own safety makes us take pause.
For California resident Sharon Bertozzi, however, that protective instinct came without hesitation. When she saw a weak animal on her front porch, she immediately sprung into action. Little did she know, this creature had quite a surprise in store for her…
One afternoon, Sharon discovered a small fur ball curled up behind a vase on her front porch. She assumed the animal was a very sick dog and quickly decided to help.
Sharon placed the poor creature inside a small cage that she had in her garage. Though she knew the dog couldn’t be kept in there for long, it was clearly better than nothing.
The tiny pup desperately needed help; fortunately, Sharon had the phone number of a local animal rescue team on hand and dialed immediately.
Sharon had called the City of Folsom Animal Services. Thinking things were about wrapped up, Sharon was told something by rescuer Cindy Walden that she could not believe.
City of Folsom Animal Services / Facebook
The sick dog Sharon rescued was actually a female coyote who was suffering from a particularly bad case of mange. “She had such soft eyes, that relayed the message of ‘help me if you can,'” Cindy said.
Gold Country Wildlife Rescue (GCWR) came soon enough and took the coyote to their shelter, later naming the animal Princess. Luckily, GCWR was specialized in providing care and rehabilitation for coyotes.
Princess was eventually taken to Sierra Wildlife Rescue in Placerville, California, when she was feeling well enough. There, workers continued to care for her so she could make a full recovery.
Here she was able to interact with other coyotes, which came as a huge relief; it had obviously been a while since Princess was able to spend time in the company of her own species…
Princess soon became friends with the two coyotes that she was placed with. Both were around her age and eager to get to know her. The three of them seemed to get along well, much to the relief of the rescue workers.
Princess and her new coyote buddies developed a close bond while they were at the wildlife rescue. Workers knew that it wouldn’t be long until they were released back into the wild.
Campbell BobPeg / Facebook
That day finally came, and the bonded — healthy — coyotes left the comfort of the sanctuary to learn to fend for themselves. Thanks to Sharon’s kindhearted gesture, Princess became the adult everyone had hoped she would.
Campbell BobPeg / Facebook
Finding a helpless creature on your doorstep is actually more common than one would suspect. Just ask Alexey Khaideyev of Siberia, who looked out his front window one morning to see this.
While trying to leave for work, Alexey couldn’t move his front door — something seemed to be blocking his way. Little did he know, it was a living thing much larger than himself.
Alexey lived in a remote part of the world on the edge of a Siberian village called Solontsovy. There, you’ll find plenty of snow and incredible wildlife. Mysterious door jams, however, weren’t so common.
Alexey’s neighbor Galina said, “He wanted to go out of his house, but the door was pressed by ‘someone’ from outside.” Through a crack in the door, he could hear something strange…
It sounded like a low growling. Alexey took a peek outside — and he was immediately shocked. There, right outside his front door, was a fully grown Siberian tiger! How the heck did she get there?
A scared Alexey quickly retreated back indoors and made an emergency call to the Ministry of Natural Resources of Khabarovsk to see if they could help. Since Siberian roads are especially bad in the winter, the rescue team was slow to arrive…
“The tiger spent all the day on Alexey’s porch until the emergency team arrived,” said Galina. Thankfully, the rescuers were able to tranquilize the big cat and examine her. They found that she was 10 years old and actually had a few major health issues.
The Siberian Times
Unlike other Siberian tigers, this one on Alexey’s porch didn’t have any front teeth. She suffered from serious gum infections, which likely made it difficult for her to eat—hence the exhaustion. How could they help?
The rescue team had no time to waste; they began their urgent care while transporting the big cat to the nearby Amur Tiger Center. It was the only place that could save her.
Amur Tiger Center
The team first checked her for gunshot wounds or knife gashes—any kind of sign that she’d been hunted—but there were none. She was very malnourished, which unfortunately indicated a sad truth…
The Siberian Times
Had this tiger sought out Alexey’s neighborhood out of desperation? Rescuers speculated she had. Director of the Amur Tiger Center, Sergey Aramilev, said, “The tigress behaved absolutely peacefully, as if she was waiting for human help.”
However, the tiger began behaving like a wild animal once they reached their destination. Sergey said, “The animal, though she came for help, will not allow us to approach her.” She may not have had teeth, but she still had claws!
Sergey elaborated on just how complicated that made matters: “In her current physical condition, it is deadly to put her under an anesthetic; yet without this, it is impossible to carry out ‘active’ treatment.” So, what could they do?
East 2 West News via Metro
As if the stakes couldn’t get any higher, the tiger was part of a dying breed—only about 500 Siberian tigers existed in Eastern Russia, according to The Siberian Times. As a female, she was an essential part of any effort to help carry on her species’ survival.
The rescue workers had to resort to desperate measures. Despite the dangers of anesthetics, medics applied sedatives remotely, allowing them to get close to the tiger if need be. Then, they crossed their fingers…
The Siberian Times
“We really hope that the tigress will pick herself up and survive,” Sergey said. “For our part, we are doing everything possible.” Then, rescue workers witnessed what they thought was a major breakthrough in recovery.
They offered the tiger antibiotic-laced mashed meat. Previously, she wasn’t able to consume solid food, but now she suddenly decided it was time to attempt to eat meat again. Had she made the ultimate turnaround?
Sadly, it wasn’t a sustained success, and in early February, the tiger once again stopped eating. “She was in a hopeless state,” said Viktor Kuzmenko, another executive at the rescue center. “There was no fat on her.”
“Age and illnesses took over,” Viktor added sadly. The illness had “natural origins,” and though veterinarians did everything they could, it just wasn’t enough. In the end, it was something she would have to beat on her own.
Sadly, on February 10—just two weeks after the weak tiger was found on Alexey’s doorstep—the animal couldn’t fight any longer, and she passed away at the rescue center. “Nothing could have saved her,” Viktor said.
Amur Tiger Centre
Since tiger preservation has become a priority worldwide in recent years, the species’ numbers have steadily climbed. Still, it’s terribly sad that this tiger was unable to survive. It only further proves that we need to do everything we can to save these beautiful animals!