A man on a rafting trip simply known as “Justin” might have no idea he had become an online hero.
Justin was on a days-long rafting trip on the Red Deer and South Saskatchewan Rivers when he made a daring rescue that ended up saving an orphaned coyote pup according to a Facebook post from the Wildlife Rehab Society of Saskatchewan.
When Justin first heard the dogfight, he brought his raft to the shore to check things out. Climbing uphill to get a better look, he could only hear the commotion and at that point, there was nothing left to do.
It was later while he was fishing in the raft that he heard a squeaking animal IN the water. He saw it struggling to swim along but being carried away. It could hardly stay afloat as its head bobbed underwater.
At first, Justin had no idea what the creature was, but that didn’t matter – he wanted to save it. But when he tried reaching for it, he fell into the freezing water along with it.
Not only did he find the animal while staying afloat, but he managed to keep his raft from floating away as well!
We can only imagine the dramatic scene that took place when he tried to get himself and the creature safely on the boat, but he did it. Unfortunately, what he realized was a coyote pup was no longer breathing after inhaling so much cold water.
“He threw this thing into the raft, and it was what he thought was a dead coyote pup,” WRSOS president Bonnie Dell told CKOM radio.
Luckily, Justin had CPR training and he decided to put it to good use. After all, he had just risked life and limb for the baby animal!
A modified Heimlich pushed enough water out of the pup that he was able to breathe again after it squirted out of his nose. He was going to be ok, but now what?
Justin’s cell service was pretty much non-existent out in the wilderness so it would be a few days before he could call for help. As a result, he decided to keep the little coyote with him for the rest of his trip.
Justin named him YipYip and took care of him on his way down the river on their little adventure.
He made sure the animal got enough food, water, and rest, and – from what it sounds like – the two bonded over the course of the 10-day trip.
“The little pup would eat with Justin, cuddle in his jacket, and sleep in his backpack while they rafted down the river,” according to the Shropshine Star.
Finally, Justin got in touch with his wife when he was in cellular range. She helped him contact organizations in Ontario and Manitoba that might be able to take in the wild animal that was now effectively orphaned.
It was the Swift Current SPCA that finally offered some help. A volunteer named Samantha called the Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Saskatchewan to come in and get the pup so he could be taken care of properly until he was ready to be released back into the wild.
Dell told a news agency that YipYip is now doing well and has found some also-orphaned “siblings” that he’s getting along with well.
“I spoke with [the volunteer] the other day and she said he is doing well, and she was unable to get a recent picture of him because they all hide when anyone goes near the huge enclosure they are in! He is wilding up, has a healthy fear of humans now and will be released back into the wild in the fall,” Dell said, according to Fox 6 News.
That’s great news!
As for Justin, no one is sure he even knows how popular he’s become online:
“We haven’t heard from him since. He has no idea that he’s become a hero online,” Dell told CKOM. “I’d love to see his reaction when he sees what has happened in his absence.”
We’re just glad that people like him exist!
If you would like to donate to WRSOS and help animals like Yip Yip, visit http://wrsos.org/donate.
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