Well-known local pet lover and animal activist Ruthie Itow has a story to tell about her dog Ziggy...when he gets feeling better. The 12 year-old dog’s serious run-in with a hungry coyote was probably going to be his last, if it hadn’t been for dramatic intervention by a local hiker. 

Itow was walking her dogs in Pugh Canyon on Tuesday, October 6, when Ziggy, who is old and deaf, ran up around a corner ahead of her. When Itow got there, Ziggy was nowhere to be found. She called for him and looked around as well as she could, but to no avail. “I decided that I could look for him better if I took the other dogs back to my house,” said Itow.

Very distraught Itow went back down the trail quickly to deposit the other dogs, when she met local residents Jeanne and Robin Modesitt walking up the creek trail. Itow told the Modesitts she was looking for her dog, and to please keep their eyes open.

Jeanne Modesitt, who had met Itow previously, said upon hearing the story she immediately got a vision of where Ziggy was and what was happening. “I saw Ziggy in my mind’s eye in Dry Creek.”

The couple told the clearly-upset Itow that they would go and try to find Ziggy.

The Modesitts took off up the canyon to look for the dog, each taking different routes. Jeanne ran straight toward the area she had envisioned. “I ran for about 12-15 minutes from where we had started, and then I came upon the coyote eating Ziggy, with tons of flesh hanging from its mouth. I looked down and saw Ziggy’s stomach and intestines. I thought the dog surely must be dead, but then I saw a little life.”

Jeanne Modesitt said what happened next was just pure human reaction. She shouted and kicked at the coyote, trying to grab it by the back of its neck and throw it away from the older supine dog. The coyote didn’t take kindly to Jeanne trying to steal its lunch, and started going after her, grabbing at her jacket with its teeth. Her shouting and screaming brought her husband to assist in the altercation. His presence eventually scared off the coyote. 

The couple gathered up the dog and hurried back down the trail. Jeanne was blood-covered from Ziggy’s wounds by the time they later met Ruthie. “It was very traumatic,” said Jeanne. “Ruthie, of course, was upset, and I was as well.”

The three individuals and Ziggy traveled to Best Friends, who had been warned that a trauma animal was arriving. Dr. Mike Dix and team took over, with the challenging mission of attempting to repair Ziggy.

“They were amazing,” said Itow. “It was a full trauma team.”

Ziggy’s story now is about a cute, small dog with tail missing, who isn’t probably feeling too well about life at present. But he will soon come home with owner Ruthie, after incredible care from Best Friends. Ziggy will probably not feel like hiking again anytime soon, but he does have caring people like Jeanne and Robin Modesitt and Best Friends to thank for his survival.