We received an urgent call—could we take in a sweet fox who had been someone’s pet and now was abandoned? He had been living alone in a locked cabin with food being thrown in sporadically, and the situation was no longer tenable. The exterminator was scheduled for the next day, so he needed a home immediately. We had no room, but it was life or death. We could try to put him in with our foxes Feather and Lightfoot and hope they got along. We would have to get permits, as he was in Wyoming and would be coming across state lines. Could we get them quickly enough? The laws had recently changed in Idaho and everyone in all the relevant offices were still uncertain about what was needed, making it even more complicated and lengthy. But a warm-hearted woman in the Idaho Fish and Game office had just seen a beautiful young fox killed on the road and was determined that this one would have a chance. While waiting to see the dentist for an infected wisdom tooth, she managed to pull it off. Kindness. There are inspiring pockets of it in the world.
His original owner called him Sionnach, Irish for fox. He had bought him for a pet, then abandoned him and his girlfriend, who did the best she could but was unprepared to take care of a wild animal she hadn’t asked for.
Sionnach came over the next day, one panicked little animal. We put him in with Feather and Lightfoot while still protected by the crate, so Jean could assess if it would be safe to let him out. Finally we opened the door. He raced for the darkest corner and cowered. For days. We hoped that seeing the other foxes trusting and liking humans, relaxed and happy, would reassure him, but apparently he had been pretty well traumatized. He was especially afraid of men.
He finally unfroze enough to leap on the wooden platform and hide behind the box there, which is where he still mostly remains. We did notice that food left out for him disappeared—always a good sign that an animal wants to live. We have had some who refused to eat, their terror was so great.
The second weekend he was here, we had a retreat led by an animal communicator and healer. She spontaneously came to us saying we had to change his name. He was all tight and constricted inside and it was important to find a name for him that implies expansion. If that is the image we have in our heads, she said, it will communicate that feel to him. The name would help us maintain that image, which might help him feel safe to expand and relax.
So dear reader, we are open to suggestions. He is 3 years old and has a long potential life ahead of him. Feather, for example, is going on 14. We would like to do whatever we can to help him heal, from good food and companionship to changing his name, if that might help. We look forward to hearing from you.
Update: His new name is Sage.