10-year-old Hailey Nyberg was attacked by a coyote when she stopped to use the bathroom at a rest stop off of the Trans-Canada Highway on Boxing Day.
Hailey, along with her parents, Alyshia and Dustin, were traveling from Medicine Hat back to their home in Brooks when they took a quick break at a highway rest stop.
When Hailey exited the car and walked towards the trashcans, she noticed something strange coming towards her.
"Something came running at me. I thought it was an excited dog, but it grabbed onto me and started biting me. That's when I realized it was a coyote," Nyberg said.
She screamed as loud as she could and tried to kick the coyote off. The coyote did not run away and continued to go after Hailey.
Mother Alyshia Nyberg said it all happened so quickly. Luckily, they were close by when the incident happened. Hailey's father, Dustin, was able to grab her while the coyote was still holding on. Dustin was able to fight off the coyote while holding his daughter.
Eventually, the coyote let go, and Alyshia was able to grab Hailey and get her safely into the car while Dustin tried to chase the coyote away into the ditch.
The coyote continued to lunge at both Alyshia and Dustin. Eventually giving up, but still keeping a close eye on the family.
"The coyote was stubborn. Even with the semi-trucks driving past, he still would not leave. This coyote was not scared at all," Alyshia said.
At the time of the incident, they were at the halfway point between Medicine Hat and Brooks and decided to head to Brooks Hospital as per the guidance of 811. They talked the family through the situation until they were able to make it to the hospital. 811 dispatch informed Brooks of the family's arrival, so they were prepared to immediately help Hailey.
Dog bites cannot be stitched up, but Hailey received a tetanus shot and three rounds of rabies shots and still has one more to go. The hospital also gave her an injection of immunoglobulin to protect her and fight off the bacteria.
The family was able to get in contact with Fish and Wildlife officers, who explained to them that coyotes are becoming less scared of humans due to people giving the animals food.
Although it is not unlawful to feed wild animals, it is highly encouraged not to do so as it may become a public safety issue.
Hailey is doing much better since the attack, and she learned an extremely valuable life lesson that day that she wants others to know.
"Always check your surroundings when you get out of the vehicle or stop to use the restroom, and don't try to make friends with wildlife as they are not your friends," Nyberg said.
The family encourages all to educate themselves on the wildlife in their area.
Send your news tips, story ideas, pictures, and videos to firstname.lastname@example.org