A Texas woman who had her pet chihuahua snatched by a coyote from her suburban backyard was surprised to see the dog return a few minutes later under its own power, bloodied and bruised but alive. Zoey Ward of Cibolo, Texas, was enjoying a warm morning outside with her dogs, Mimi, a chihuahua, and Joey, a beagle, when she heard a commotion. “I was outside on the patio reading a book and drinking coffee ‘cause it was a nice day,” Ward told KSAT News. “Then I heard loud yelps, and Mimi was gone.”

Ward’s next-door neighbors had spotted the coyote nosing around a green belt behind the homes and even shot video of the animal. They alerted her that a coyote was nearby. When Ward looked over her fence she saw no signs of Mimi, but she did see what she described as an “extremely bold” predator. “The coyote was looking at me and I was looking at it,” she told McClatchy News. “It was a beautiful creature.”

Ward could hear Mimi yelping in the distance and feared for the dog’s life. But a few minutes later, Mimi reappeared, making a run for the fence. Neighbors helped the dog get back in the yard, and Ward took her to an emergency veterinarian. Photos on Ward’s Facebook page show several puncture wounds, but there was no serious internal damage and the dog is expected to make a full recovery. “Her X-rays came back good!” Ward wrote in a Facebook post. “Apparently she is a biter!”

Ward thinks the coyote snatched Mimi through a small opening in her fence and ran off with her. How Mimi made her way back is the bigger mystery. “I’m honestly not sure how she got away,” Ward said of her 7-year-old dog, which she described as feisty and not afraid to use its teeth. “Maybe she bit it, or maybe the commotion scared the coyote, and he dropped her.”

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Noting that February is smack in the middle of coyote breeding season in Texas, local animal control authorities suggested the coyote may have been defending its territory rather than attempting to eat the dog. No doubt the distinction was lost on Mimi. For her part, Ward is using the publicity generated by Mimi’s escape to warn folks about being careful of the danger of coyotes to their pets. “Little Mimi is a fighter.” she wrote on Facebook. “We are so lucky and blessed that she survived.”