Today we have a beautiful piece of prose, and a true story, from Katy, a mom of two in Texas.
The fox appeared on a Wednesday. At first, he was simply a flash of movement behind the fence. He skulked along the length of it, scoping out our situation. Our situation being a dog that no animal fears, and a giant, flimsy, somewhat slimy Walmart pool sitting on the back porch.
Josie, the dog, met him nose to nose through the fence. The fox, quickly determining Josie to be a non-threat, did not run off in terror, it simply meandered away into the field behind our home. The next morning Justin and I were sitting on the couch, ignoring our child, when she quietly said, “The fox is outside.”
"He’s getting into your garden, mom."
"Ok! Why don’t you go outside and catch it?"
Just then, we looked out the window to see that the fox had indeed hopped into my vegetable garden, and then hopped back out onto our patio (best parents ever, right here).
Throughout the day he reappeared four times again in the backyard. As an experiment, we left Josie outside while running errands. When we came home, the fox was sitting in our front yard. The next night, while babysitting, my dad said the fox came right up to the back door to eat Josie’s food. Why leave food out while the fox is about, you say? Oh, because the dog is too afraid to go outside after eating (loud noises scare her, we know this because one time there was a loud noise) so we have to put her food out there. However, she won’t eat unless Lily, the cat, stays with her. I didn’t want Lily outside with the fox hanging around, which meant Josie wouldn’t eat her food because the cat couldn’t be with her. The pet situation is very codependent around here. My dad thought the fox looked disoriented, which then turned into me googling “does the fox have rabies?”
The internet is just about the worst place to turn for determining if a fox has rabies, and I will tell you why. Basically, because foxes are supposedly nocturnal, if they are out during the day they could have rabies. Or not. It might be normal for a fox to hunt during the day if they are looking for water (it probably was, due to the drought and the mosquito hatching center we were keeping on the porch). They don’t eat cats. They do eat cats. What I DO know, because I saw it, is that foxes can climb fences! And, as the internet tells me, trees. I didn’t want animal control to come because they would euthanize it, but I didn’t want to catch it myself because rabies. Another fact I learned is that our town is the home to the FIVE main rabies carriers: foxes, raccoons, BATS??, possums, and skunks.
Ultimately, the fox just left. It probably decided living in a yard already inhabited by another canine wasn’t worth it. I like to imagine the fox was pregnant and took off to have her babies somewhere in private, though.
My secret plan is that it would have its adorable fox babies in the yard and we could keep them, and then be featured on The Today Show because all of our pets would then sleep adorably together, and my cat would adopt the babies as her own after the mother tragically died in childbirth. Or from the rabies.
Katy Lemieux is a mom to two beautiful human children, and two beautiful animal children in Fort Worth, Texas. She spends her free time trying to convince her husband to let her get another cat.