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Senior Dog Defies Odds, Rescues Sibling from Coyote Attack [Video]



Quick Smiles:

  • Vinny, an 11-year-old Maltese/dachshund mix, demonstrated exceptional bravery by saving his younger canine sibling Harley from a coyote attack in their backyard in Mission Viejo, California.
  • Harley sustained several injuries including two lacerations, bite marks, and abrasions, requiring immediate vet attention, but he’s expected to make a full recovery thanks to Vinny’s timely intervention.
  • This incident serves as a reminder for pet owners to be vigilant, especially in areas where wildlife such as coyotes may perceive pets as potential prey, reinforcing the advice given by Dr. Shari Rodriguez, assistant professor of human dimensions of wildlife at Clemson University.

A typical day turned extraordinary for an 11-year-old Maltese/dachshund mix named Vinny, and his family, the Mascalusos of Mission Viejo, California.

Vinny sprang into action in an incredible display of bravery, rescuing his younger brother Harley from a potentially devastating coyote attack.

David and Erin Mascaluso, the dog owners, relayed the incident to Fox 11 Los Angeles.

They’d just let out Vinny and Harley in their backyard when an unexpected guest leapt over their fence – a coyote.

Their home video captured every hair-raising moment of the chase that followed.


The footage showed the coyote cornering Harley near some bushes by the gate, but before anything could happen, Vinny emerged from the other side of the backyard.

Displaying courage that defied his age and size, Vinny charged into the scene, startling the coyote and allowing Harley to make a quick escape.

In the chaos that followed, Erin recounted their actions: “We just scooped him up and went to the emergency vet.”

“We didn’t even realize what happened until after we were sitting in the lobby of the emergency vet and rolled our camera footage back,” she said.

Harley did sustain injuries, unfortunately – two lacerations that required stitches, several bite marks, and abrasions.

David noted, “It happens just that quick. We’re really diligent, and it just took one little thing, and we could’ve lost [our] little guy.”


Still, there’s a glimmer of optimism in this nerve-wracking event – Harley is expected to make a full recovery.

As for Vinny, he’s deservedly earned the status of a hero in his family.

David shared his awe for Vinny’s bravery, saying, “You know, a little 10-pound, three tooth dog … and 11 years old chased off a 60-pound coyote. So, it’s pretty amazing. He did a great job. He’s our little hero.”

This incident serves as a stark reminder to all pet owners.

Dr. Shari Rodriguez, an assistant professor of human dimensions of wildlife at Clemson University, advises vigilance.

“If a coyote is in an urban area and there is a fat fluffy [pet] that doesn’t have a lot of defense mechanism, cats could be considered prey.”


Through it all, the Mascaluso family’s experience showcases the profound bond and surprising bravery of our furry companions.

With their little hero, Vinny, and their resilient fighter, Harley, they’re an inspiration for many pet owners.