I was busy replacing the letterbox at Beardsley Towers (I’d given both the handyman and the butler the day off on a whim – I’m just that kind of employer) and I was grovelling on my hands and knees with screws and drills etc, when I looked up to find myself face-to-face with a beautiful fox!
My first thought was that as soon as I move he is bound to shoot off, but when I straightened up he wasn’t in the least concerned. I got the idea of stealing some of Max’s dog treats and seeing if he would take them. Again I fully expected him to run away either when I got up or while I was away, but again he still hung around, and didn’t flinch when I tossed him the first couple of treats.
I couldn’t resist trying to get him to take a treat from my hand
And I came close…
But not quite.
At first I thought he was perhaps semi-tame from getting food from people’s gardens – but then I noticed the large open wound on his flank, which you can just make out in the picture below. I then suspected that his behaviour was more to do with sickness and perhaps desperation then tameness, so with a heavy heart I decided I needed to call the RSPCA. I say with a heavy heart because having had dealings with them over the years they used to be great in situations like this, but I’ve learned that these days they don’t really want to know, and that you have to go through umpteen menus and listen to all kinds of recorded nonsense before you even get to speak to a human being.
When I did get through to someone they refused to send someone out because even though the fox was right there in front of me they said it might be gone when they arrived. I’m not sure if Foxie was listening in on the conversation, because he went for a little wander around with me following him to see where he went – and then doubled back and ran into my flat – I mean, Beardsley Towers. He even obliged by running straight into the bathroom, allowing me to close the door behind him. Take that, RSPCA!
I rang again and they finally agreed to come. I was watching as the inspector grabbed him using heavy gauntlets, and he didn’t put up nearly as much of a fight as I’ve seen foxes do before, and she agreed with me that it was probably because he was sick – perhaps an infection from the wound.
Ailing creatures seem to be attracted to me. I once caught a sick cormorant in the street (who nearly pecked my eye out for my troubles)
That time I managed to bypass the RSPCA and get a wildlife rescue charity to come and get him. Then another time I rescued a weak and helpless baby jackdaw from circling cats.
You should usually leave baby birds alone, since their parents may well be hovering around somewhere, but this one wouldn’t have lasted five minutes and anyway I could tell that it wasn’t just lost but ill. Possibly its parents had abandoned it and it was starving. I tried to feed it and then leave it in a warm, dark place to recover, but a few minutes after the picture was taken it died.
Anyway, my fox has gone now, and I hope they manage to make him well. Good luck, Foxie, and thanks for a memorable encounter.