A young, stray puppy believed to have been dropped from the sky and into the backyard of an Australian family's property was actually a rare purebred dingo — an endangered wild dog breed native to Down Under.
The animal was discovered in Wandiligong, in the state of Victoria, around 200 miles northeast of Melbourne, in August. Jane Guiney, who found the animal whimpering in her backyard, suspected the furry creature was a dog or a fox and was dropped on the ground by an eagle flying by.
Guiney's family cared for the dog for a day before taking it to a veterinarian to be treated for injuries, where it was determined the dog was actually a dingo.
"He had a mark on his back [from what is believed to be an eagle's claws] and there were no other pups nearby," veterinarian Dr. Bec Day told Australia's ABC News. "The resident hadn't heard any [other dingos] calling. So he was just a lonely little soul sitting in a backyard."
The animal's DNA was tested for confirmation of its breed, and while they awaited results, the pup was taken to the Australian Dingo Foundation sanctuary. The test determined the dingo is a purebred Victorian Highlands Dingo, the sanctuary wrote on Instagram.
The dingo, which has since been named "Wandi," is fitting in nicely at the sanctuary, according to foundation director Lyn Watson.
"Wandi has a little playmate his same age because he has been born at the perfectly right time for dingos in winter," Watson said. "He has tamed quite nicely. Whilst he is wild and always will be, he has become quite happy here and he likes the people that are caring for him."
The sanctuary wrote online, "He is living proof that the dingo is still prevailing in its purest form in Victoria. Wandi will become part of our breeding program, adding new genes to increase strength and diversity of our captive insurance population of pure dingoes we have at our sanctuary."
While dingoes are common animals in Australia and are also found in South Asia, "their pure genetic strain is gradually being compromised," according to National Geographic. They often interbreed with domestic dogs, creating hybrid animals — which reportedly account for more than a third of Australia's dingo population.