‘Super scary’: Dog helps find yellow jacket nest after Charlotte couple swarmed on trail

·2 min read

Jennifer and Jason Puca were swarmed by yellow jackets when the married couple decided to walk their dog on a trail near their Steele Creek home.

“It was traumatic,” Jennifer told the Observer Thursday. “It was super scary.”

The yellow jackets attacked the couple because their 1-year-old vizsla Zoe disturbed an underground nest during their afternoon walk two weeks ago, Jennifer said.

Jennifer and Zoe didn’t get hurt, but Jason was stung multiple times and went to the emergency room.

“They were all over his back, all over his legs,” Jennifer said, “and he got stung a couple times on the face.”

When the couple ran off the trail, Jennifer said she became worried about Jason because he began swelling, complained of pain and looked like he was about to go into shock.

“It was a little scary trying to get off the trail and not knowing what was going to happen to him,” she said.

Doctors observed Jason for hours and gave him Benadryl and steroids, Jennifer said.

Jason is recovering and doing well, she said. He had seven stings around one of his ankles and one of his eyes was swollen shut.

“He could hardly walk, his foot was so swollen,” Jennifer said. “We’re just grateful the situation wasn’t worse.”

Jason Puca and his 1-year-old vizsla Zoe were both stung by yellow jackets on two seperate occasions. Jason got stung in July 2021, while Zoe got stung in November 2020.
Jason Puca and his 1-year-old vizsla Zoe were both stung by yellow jackets on two seperate occasions. Jason got stung in July 2021, while Zoe got stung in November 2020.

Helping the next hikers

To make sure the same yellow jackets don’t attack anyone else, Jennifer said the couple spoke with the trail’s maintenance staff and told them about the nest.

“We wanted to let people know so that didn’t happen to somebody else,” she said.

When maintenance asked the couple where the nest was, they didn’t have an answer because “everything kind of became a blur,” Jennifer said.

The couple realized that Zoe’s Fi GPS tracking collar shows where she was running around that day. When they found out the exact location of the nest using Zoe’s collar, maintenance closed down the trail and destroyed the yellow jacket nest, Jennifer said.

“Hopefully we prevented this from happening to somebody else,” she said.

Jennifer, left, Jason, right, and Zoe, middle, Puca survived a yellow jacket attack two weeks ago during a afternoon hike on July 17.
Jennifer, left, Jason, right, and Zoe, middle, Puca survived a yellow jacket attack two weeks ago during a afternoon hike on July 17.

‘We love being outside’

This incident comes six months after Zoe was stung by yellow jackets in November and had to be taken to the emergency vet where they kept her for observation overnight, Jennifer said.

“Unfortunately, this wasn’t our first experience, and hopefully it’s our last,” she said. “We’ve kind of had to overcome this twice.”

Although the couple and their dog endured two separate yellow jacket attacks, Jennifer said they still plan to go back to trails. Next time, the trails they choose will be a little bit wider, not as dense and will have less brush around, she said.

“We’re very aware now of where they like to have nests, and where we are on trails and whatnot,” she said. “We’re just more hyper alert. We love being outside too much.”

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting