A man named Craig discovered what appeared to him to be an abandoned litter of puppies or kittens in his local garden, while cleaning up rubbish. He and his friend, Beccie, took the litter in a cardboard box lined with towels to their local animal rescue. They hoped that the rescue would be able to provide proper care to the puppies. The two friends posted photos and information onto Facebook, hoping for the small animals to be claimed, but no owner ever contacted them. They did, however, hear from a surprising source: The National Fox Welfare Authority.
Through additional photos, the litter was able to be correctly identified as fox cubs, not puppies. Martin Hemington, the founder of National Fox Welfare Authority, wrote in a post on Facebook, “We were contacted by a lovely lady called Beccie through our Facebook Page; Beccie had sent a few photos asking if the babies in the photos were indeed fox cubs. We confirmed they certainly were. Beccie advised us that they had been taken to a rescue center in Liverpool mistakenly as puppies, not fox cubs.”
It was an understandable mix-up, as fox cubs do not have the appearance of foxes in their earliest stages of development. The most common reason people mistake fox cubs for puppies is the brown coloring that they have at that time, rather than the ginger or red coloring that is seen in adulthood. This information was provided by Paul Mcdonald of the Freshfields Animal Rescue. Craig and Beccie were also surprised to learn that the cubs needed to be taken back to the location where they were found, as it is routine for vixens (mother foxes) to leave their cubs alone for certain periods of time. This encourages the young foxes to begin discovering their own independence within their environment and surroundings. The National Fox Welfare Authority stated to Beccie and Craig that the mother would most likely return, and would be devastated if her cubs were no longer there.
The conclusion of this unexpected experience was properly orchestrated by all those involved in order to ensure that the reunion of the mother fox with her litter of cubs would be successful. The rescuers did not give any milk to the cubs during their time of rescue, so that the cubs would cry out in hunger and lure the vixen back to them. It was a beautiful sequence of events, which ended in the cubs being able to be raised by their own mother in the natural world. Paul Mcdonald was quoted saying, “This is without a doubt the best kind of rescue in my line of work, when nature is allowed to take its own course.”