PORT TOWNSEND, Wash. — Sometimes things can get a little wild at hospitals. Recently at Jefferson Healthcare in Port Townsend, things got extremely wild.
"We got a call from the hospital, they told us that they had a visitor that came into the urgent care clinic, through the motion detector door,” said Sara Penhallegon, executive director of Center Valley Animal Rescue.
The visitor was a 25-pound female coyote.
"She came in here and was trying to get traction running very very fast, the whole thing was a matter of seconds,” said Amy Yaley, Jefferson Healthcare's director of marketing and communications, who was working in a small lobby off where the coyote entered. “I was sitting right here, I could see through the window and heard the crash, it was a very loud crash.”
The coyote broke through a window that was part of an enclosed exterior courtyard attempting to get outside, and was trapped in the space, running, crashing into windows, and trying to leap for the roof to get away. She was also bleeding from cuts made by the glass she had just broken through. Luckily, there was another nearby hospital that’s better at coyote care. Center Valley Animal Rescue has been saving wildlife in this region for more than 20 years. The rescue's director Sara Penhallegon responded to the call.
"What I saw was a coyote that was terrified, it was in the corner, huddled up," Penhallegon said. "There was actually blood smeared up and around the windows from it trying to escape and get out of the courtyard. It was trying to get up to the roof."
Animal control officers finally got the coyote in a net, and Penhallegon tranquilized it. Capturing the coyote took less than an hour, things were back to normal at the hospital in time for lunch.
Despite the destruction, everyone at Jefferson Healthcare wanted this furry patient to have a good outcome.
“We did, we took care of the coyote and like we do with many of our patients, we sent it on to another facility with a higher level of care,” Yaley said.
At Center Valley Animal Rescue, an exam showed the animal’s injuries were minor. Penhallegon gave the coyote stitches, antibiotics, and finally, freedom.
"It just needed to recover for the day — then it was off!” she said.
One day after 'admission,' the coyote was discharged. And nobody's ever seen a patient so eager to be out of the hospital.
The hospital coyote was released in a place where she could find her pack, but the spot was nowhere near Jefferson Healthcare. Penhallegon says the aftercare plan for this patient is for no return visits to any hospital.
"They're wild animals, we want to see them back in the wild, and that's where they want to be and that's where they deserve to be.”