Have you ever experienced an animal unexpectedly following you home from school or a friend’s house? Maybe it was a stray kitten or a friendly puppy seeking a treat, a pat on the head, or simply companionship. Perhaps they even became a permanent part of your life.
The Caballero family of Tempe, Arizona recently encountered a similar situation during their routine walk with their dog, Olive. A small, baby gray fox joined them and followed them around the neighborhood. It appeared that the fox mistook the family’s terrier for its mother, leading to the unexpected company.
The small fox measured approximately 8 inches in length and had a coat of gray hues that varied in shade. Upon further investigation, they discovered that she was merely 6 weeks old during that time.
Afterward, the petite fox trailed them to their residence. While the sprinklers were active, she hurried over to take a sip. It was then that Rosalyn observed how parched the fox was, as she continued to drink nonstop, voraciously consuming gulp after gulp of water.
According to the family, they had previously witnessed grey foxes in the vicinity before. During the previous year, they had observed a group of foxes sauntering past their garden. However, the baby fox they encountered this time was alone, and she appeared dehydrated, lost, and anxious.
The family carefully gathered the fox and placed her in a container, fondly dubbing her “Fox in a Box.” They subsequently transported her to the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center, where experts treated her and assisted her in recovering her strength. Initially, they fed her with syringes, but within a few weeks, the fox learned to feed on her own from a bowl.
“She appears to be doing quite well,” Jim Mitchell from the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center said. “She was a little dehydrated when we got her, but otherwise healthy. She was already eating solid food, so we’ve managed to fatten her up a bit in the short time she’s been at Southwest Wildlife. All indications are—from a health perspective—that she’s like to grow up into a strong, healthy girl.”
Foxy is presently under the care of the Southwest Wildlife Conservation Center. The center’s caretakers aim to socialize her with other foxes who have recently arrived at the facility. Once they have all regained their strength, they plan to release the group into the wild as a pack.
“The process is a little more complex than ‘nurse and release’,” Mitchell said. “Once they’re able to be moved to an outdoor enclosure (they start in the ‘maternity ward’ of our onsite clinic), we’ll see how they act—do they eat well? Do they cower from humans? Do they make normal animal sounds?”