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Julia’s Weekly Column For The Middy

Many people aren’t keen on foxes, but sometimes they just need a little TLC too

As a newly qualified Vet I had to follow my boss’ rules.

She was a chicken keeper, so to her all foxes were vermin. She told us stories about how a fox would creep into her chicken coop at night and kill every bird there, and leave most of the corpses behind. She felt they killed for fun, not just to feed their families.

So it was strictly against the rules for us to offer veterinary care or succour of any kind to these beautiful creatures. I had become used to thinking of them as dangerous criminals that would attack anything that moved.

Shortly after I opened my own practice, becoming my own boss, I was faced with an unexpected emergency. A lady pulled up into the courtyard in the late evening and reported that she had an injured fox in her boot.

I was immediately on guard. Whilst in principle I was perfectly willing to be of use, I foresaw two problems. Firstly, I was worried that when we started to open the boot, the poor little fellow would see a sliver of light and take the opportunity to slip out and away before we could stop him.

And secondly, being a wild predator, that if he stayed put he would simply sink his teeth into any fingers moving in to help him.

Imagining myself about to be severely injured, I held back. But the lovely Good Samaritan had no such qualms. She opened up the boot, revealing a gorgeous little face calmly gazing back at us, reached in and picked the fox up, holding it in her arms and fondling his head just as you would a cat’s. I was totally amazed!

Putting its response down to the shock, I then went into professional mode. I assessed its injuries, administered appropriate care and admitted it into our hospital. The next day the hospital stank, (foxes have a very pungent odour!) but he was up and about and soon moved out to a rehabilitation centre.

I have often wondered why he let the lady help him. Could he have understood her intentions, or was he just too shocked to defend himself?

I suppose I’ll never know, but I will always treasure my close up encounter with the fox in the boot.

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