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Burns & Gambo

Updated May 17, 2013 - 4:17 pm

Coyote pup loses battle with cactus but golf-course duo saves day

SUN CITY WEST, Ariz. -- There was a little excitement in the area this week when a young coyote staggered on to a golf course. Workers came to the aid of the troubled pup.

"A baby coyote had Cholla cactus all over it," said Shawn Bordine of Pebblebrook Golf Course. The assistant superintendent took a call alerting him to the small visitor Monday around 11 a.m.

A resident had spotted the animal.

Bordine and course foreman Jose Soto don't know how the pup got tangled up with the cholla, but the little fellow had spines all over its body.

"There was multiple ones on the head," said Bordine. "There was one on the leg, the stomach, the back part. It had a whole bunch of little ones on it. We just couldn't let it suffer. I started picking off the big ones first, and then we just started picking off the little ones."

They used several tools to pull out the spines. "I think the hardest part was pulling the ones out of its mouth," Bordine said.

Bordine and Soto had company while they aided the pup. A female coyote, presumably its mother, watched from nearby. Then about 10 other coyotes showed up, possibly the pup's father and siblings. All of the coyotes stayed calm.

After about 15 minutes, all of the spines were out. "We let it go," said Bordine. "It ran across the No. 2 fairway about five minutes later. It met up with daddy by itself. Daddy gave it a few licks. They rolled around for a few minutes, and then they were on their way."

This isn't the first time that Soto and Bordine helped an animal on the golf course. Bordine said that two years ago they rescued a baby Red-tailed hawk that couldn't fly.

They were afraid that if they didn't do anything, the bird would be attacked by coyotes. They put it in a box and took it to a maintenance area, where they gave it a drink of water. Bordine said the bird was turned over to an animal refuge.

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