Wanting to add to their home, John and his wife Dawn adopted Cherokee from The Humane Society when she was just four months old. Affectionately referred to as “Cherry,” the now 10-year-old dog is so sweet you wouldn’t expect that she was capable of taking on a pack of coyotes by herself – but that’s exactly what happened.

To celebrate Dawn’s birthday, John planned a trip to New York City for a few days. Cherokee and her younger sister Sedona, a 6-year-old Pit Bull German Shepherd mix, would be left in the trusted care of friends. When John and Dawn were just an hour away, the dogs were returned home. What really could happen in such a short time?

“Coyotes never came within 200 yards of the enclosure, but they got brazen that day. Maybe they sensed that no one was there for a week,” John speculated.

As soon as the couple opened the front door, John and Dawn were greeted with what no pet parent ever wishes to see: their furry loved one severely injured.

“There was blood and fur all over the kitchen and day room. Cherokee was lying on a pillow in front of the door waiting for us.”

John began to roll Cherokee over to fully inspect her, but the injured pup yelped. Not wanting to cause more damage by moving her, John and Dawn carried Cherokee to the car by lifting the pillow underneath. They raced her to their longtime veterinarian who pieced together the clues for what most likely occurred.

When coyotes attack

After examining Cherokee’s bites and injuries, the veterinarian deduced that at least two coyotes were to blame. The bites indicated that the trespassers tried to first maim Cherokee by going for her cranial cruciate ligament and when they weren’t successful, they went for her neck.

Cherokee is a stunning mix of Flat-Coated Retriever, Collie and Chow Chow. The unique breed blend equipped her with plenty of thick fur that not only made her extra cute, but apparently prevented coyote bites from breaking skin. Cherokee defied the odds by fending off the coyotes and squeezing back through the doggy door, but not before suffering from a dislocated left elbow and broken hind leg.

Her timid sister Sedona fared much better.

“Sedona had superficial scratches on her nose. She’s lightning fast so we think she actually encountered the coyotes first and ran inside. Cherokee, who has never shied away from a fight, most likely ran out to her sister’s defense.”

After the initial surgery, Cherokee recovered for close to three weeks before starting physical therapy. A month later, she began limping again. The X-ray showed Cherokee’s body rejected the screws in her shoulder – something that their veterinarian told them occurs only 3% of the time.

Cherokee returned back to the surgery room to have the screws removed and began physical therapy two weeks later.

“She’s been really amazing through the whole thing. I was afraid it would break her spirit. I look at her sometimes and I think I totally admire you,” gushed John.

How Cherokee joined Petplan’s pack

Three and a half years after enrolling Sedona and Cherokee in Petplan’s comprehensive protection, both dogs remained healthy and claim-free. While other pet parents may have been tempted to drop the coverage, John and Dawn knew better.

They had made the mistake of dropping coverage with a previous dog named Jewel, a mix of Pointer and Black Labrador. The beloved rescue developed cancer, and since she no longer was covered, the couple had to fork over all the funds themselves for her treatment.

“We couldn’t enroll her again – it would have been deemed a pre-existing condition. We vowed to never let a pet go unprotected again.”

John and Dawn are relieved they kept that vow. Cherokee’s treatment reached $8,556 and is expected to only go up. Limping once more, Cherokee is expected to return for a third and final surgery where the vet will fix a metal plate to her leg since the bone did not successfully fuse.

To date, John and Dawn have received $4,706 in reimbursement. They know that once the paperwork from this next surgery is submitted, they can expect even more.

“Petplan has been great through the whole process. Everything worked like clockwork. I tell pet parents everywhere to get pet insurance and keep it. At some point you’re going to need it!”

Jan 28, 2020

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