I have just seen a dying fox. Well, he or she was not dying in front of my eyes but she had multiple leg injuries that would make it almost impossible to survive. She looked depressed and was limping badly. She had come to my porch for a rest and some sun. It is a bit of a sun trap. I heard some scrapping noses outside and went to the door that leads to the patio porch area. She was resting on the mat out there. I wanted to feed her but as soon as I gently opened the door she limped off. She tried twice to jump the wall at the end of the garden and just made it. It must have been painful for her. She licked her paws constantly indicating that they were painful.
Urban foxes in the UK get a lot of leg and foot injuries as they travel fast, climb lots of walls and land on rough surfaces. They are also shot at and persecuted sometimes. All this happens if they survive mange which strips their fur off them. They then die of hypothermia.
I don’t want to see a fox in this condition. I don’t want to see a cat in a poor condition because I feel what they are feeling. It is this very feeling that motivates everything I do. It is the feeling that motivates all people who care about cat welfare. It is almost an act of selfishness to want to alleviate a fox or cat or dog of his or her pain and distress because it is distressing to me. I find it almost unbearable. The problem is, we can’t help.
I wanted to hold this fox and take her to a vet to put her to sleep, to be free of the struggle to survive and the pain and discomfort that goes with it at the end of her short life in the urban jungle of London because simultaneously it would rid the discomfort from me. It would be an act of desperation and defeat.
Does someone out there feel like that?
What makes it all doubly painful is that this dying fox may be the fox I cured of mange last year and who disappeared. Perhaps she has come back to a place where she knows she is safe. This is a video of her before she got mange:
The last time I saw her was when she was rolling in the grass in the sun, her mange almost cured. It is a picture in my mind that I will never forget.