Bob Buechting laughs when you call him a hero. But to many in Sierra Madre Canyon he’s just that. That’s because late last week when Bob was out for his morning walk and spotted a wild coyote with a cat dangling from its mouth, Buechting did what many of us would never dream of: he pursued it.
And his efforts paid off: after a brief visit the to a nearby veterinarian hospital, the feline survived the harrowing incident and is now back home with its owner.
“I spotted it from about 30 or 40 feet away,” Buechting said over coffee at the morning after. “I could tell that it had something in its mouth, but I wasn’t sure.”
Buechting said that as he moved closer to the coyote, it became clear that it was a domestic cat, likely one that belonged to one of his neighbors. At first, Buechting said the cat looked dead, its head dangling from the animal’s mouth out of one side, its tail out of the other.
“It looked recent,” Buechting said. “And I thought there might be a chance it was still alive, so we chased it for a while.”
Headed down Audubon Way through the group of homes known as Sierra Cottages, Buechting and his 7-year-old dog Jones kept the pursuit alive in the hopes of rescuing the cat.
“Jones was in tracking mode,” Buechting said.
Asked what he was thinking at the time – what he thought he and his dog might do if they were able to catch the coyote, Buechting laughs again.
“I’m not sure. I didn’t want Jones to go after the coyote, so I was holding him back,” Buechting said. “I was hoping that it would drop the cat.”
After the pursuit had continued all the way down Canon Avenue to Las Rocas, the coyote, which Buechting said was on the smaller side and possibly unable to carry the cat uphill, became cornered, dropped the cat and darted up a hill.
At that point another neighbor came to aid in the situation, bringing with him a box that Buechting put the injured cat in before heading to to try tracking down the owner.
According to friend and neighbor, the owner was soon located and the cat was taken to a nearby veterinarian hospital.
Though Buechting only met the cat’s owner briefly before their trip to the hospital, he was told later that the cat survived, despite damage to one of its eyes.
“Bob is our hero,” one friend of Buechting's said speaking for many pet-owners and neighbors in Sierra Madre Canyon.