ANIMAL FRIENDS...BOTH TAME AND WILD!!!


Hi everyone!!! On these pages I'd like to introduce you to some of the many animal friends I have known and loved!! I've had dogs, cats, ferrets, goats, gerbils, hamsters, mice, all types of snakes, lizards, tropical fish, native fish, weasels, woodchucks...Well..you just name it...and gee....I've had it!! I've learned a lot over the years through caring for my many pets. I think I have just about every book on pet care known to man and I'm still learning more!! You know....in MY opinion "fur persons"...um...or should I qualify that by including "scaly' persons, too......are the BEST friends one can possibly have!!.

 

 
 
 

ANN........SAFE IN MOMMY'S ARMS!!!
 

Orphan Ann
 

Hi everyone!! Allow me to introduce myself! (The mistress had trouble finding me, and she felt only a fox should write this story.) Um...um..you know the OLD saying....smart as a fox!! Actually, I'm Ann's great-great aunt. Ann never had a family of her own. But Ann's story has been handed down from generation to generation of foxes, and among the South Carolina fox dens, the story is well-known.

It was about 1981, and the mistress lived in South Carolina...in an area where there were lots of deer, wild boars (yes, it's true...she even RODE one!), all types of lizards, snakes, and of course....foxes! Now the mistress had never seen a fox at close-range, but little did she know that she was about to!!

Early one morning, she opened her door to give her dogs, Shannon and Snowball, a few dog treats. She was still kind of sleepy-eyed, but she noticed a very tiny dog standing next to Shannon. The mistress looked again and thought Oh, no...not ANOTHER poor little stray puppy tossed out by someone cruel and heartless! She went back inside and thought...Gee...that pup looked different! So she opened the door and glanced again. Why, it wasn't a puppy at all, but a baby fox!!!! Where was the mother?? Why was it here? What should she do? The poor little thing certainly WAS cute, and it seemed dreadfully hungry!! Oh...yes..she knew about the possibility of rabies (GASP!), but it needed help THEN......mostly food and water. It seemed, too, that it needed to be close to her beloved German Shepherd, Shannon. (More about Shannon will be featured in later stories.) The mistress thought about the night before. She HAD heard what sounded like a gunshot and a weird screeching noise in the woods at midnight. And she heard her dogs barking at the sound. Could it be this poor little fox had lost its mother and followed Shannon home? Of course, she knew this was all just conjecture.

The mistress is very big on NAMES!! She decided immediately to name her charge Ann, after a movie that was popular at the time......something about Orphan Annie. I think she said it used to be a favorite comic strip of hers, too. So....now the fox childö had a name!! When the master of the house arrived home from work, it was decided Ann should go immediately to see the fox doctor......OOPS...the veterinarian, for a check-up, worming, and shots. Ann had to be given this nasty medicine for worms, but she took it easily.....with minced roast beef! She was given all the shots that dogs would get......distemper, hepatitis, etc....the WORKS! And she received a KILLED rabies vaccine. Oh, I forgot to mention something: Ann had a condition called mange. Oh..it was NASTY!! So the mistress was given a special medication to use on her fur. Ann had to be bathed EVERY day, and the medication applied first to one side of her body, and the next to the other side. It was potent stuff, and the vet didn't know how a fox would react to something designed for dogs!! In about two weeks, the mange had cleared up, and Ann's skin no longer itched.

Ann became a part of the Hawblitz family. Um...um...gosh, should I mention this? Hmmm...Well, you see, like a dog, she had to be housebroken. Thee mistress decided to try the litter box deal....you know...like her cats used. Well.....it WORKED!! I believe the mistress only had to clean about two accidents before Ann learned to use her box. Like a cat, she always covered the spot with litter. The mistress thought that for a baby fox, Ann was very intelligent. Of course, she didn't know at the time that foxes are normally very clean and neat.

Ann had two small bowls...one for food and one for water in the laundry area...near the cat dishes. It was decided upon that Ann would be in far too much danger if she were allowed to leave the house and roam freely. Unfortunately, there are a few bad people in the world....some who might even harm a baby fox!! Can you believe that??? The mistress bought Ann a small harness, and when she was a bit older, often took her for walks in the woods. Ann explored squirrel nests, (yes, often squirrels put their nests underground, rather than in trees), dug up remnants of buried bones, dug for crawdads in the creek bank, and often walked with Shannon, Snowball, and the mistress along the roads. Oh.....and sometimes Ann did the fox-trot, and the poor mistress had all she could do to keep up!!! It was SO funny!! You see, we foxes have this pattern of ôzig-zaggingö through the woods and fields as we run. It keeps us safe because it makes it much more difficult for dogs and other enemies to follow us. Ann would make a quick turn to the right....then to the left.....then back to the right...all the way down the long road!! The mistress nearly became dizzy...trying to keep up. When a car went by, it sure must have been a sight for the passengers to see!! For here was Ann, running at full speed, zig-zagging first to the left, then to the right...and the poor mistress holding the leash attached to Ann's harness....zig-zagging, too...just like Ann!! (It makes me laugh to think of it!)

At night, Ann watched TV with the master, the mistress, and the cats, and later slept on the bed. (Um..she was SUPPOSED to sleep in her fox bed, but somehow she ALWAYS found a way to put her head on the pillow next to the mistress, after the mistress fell asleep! Sometimes on the weekend, the master would drive them into town, where they would stop at an ice cream spot. Oh...how Ann LOVED ice cream cones!! Now, I must tell you...she NEVER ate the cone! Poor Shannon was given the cone to eat! She ate ONLY ice cream and it HAD to be vanilla. And my, Ann was polite! She never touched the master and mistress's cones. Well, why should she? She had her own!!

In a couple of years, it was decided that Ann should have her own space outside, and the master enclosed a huge area next to the woods with a chain-link fence. Inside, he dug a tunnel and put STOVEPIPE into the earth!! Isn't that funny? He ran it underneath the ground, duplicating a REAL fox den as much as possible!! You see, the mistress wanted Ann to enjoy what ALL foxes enjoy...an outside den....made like a maze!! (We build our homes underground, and yes, they are like mazes!) After it was finished, the mistress built a little house and put straw inside for bedding and a water dish. The house sat directly over the entrance to the stove pipe tunnel!! Ann spent more time in the house than she did outside, but sometimes the master and mistress kept her in the outside pen if they had to go away for a day. (You see, I HATE to say this, but...well...Ann had a few slight faults!!) When no one was in the house, she...she...she....well....she tore curtains!! In fact, she completely mangled the beautiful mint green draperies in the sewing room! She didn't MEAN to!! It was just so enticing....watching them sway back and forth....wondering how they would look and feel.....torn up in pieces for a nice bed on the couch!! And then, to top it off, Ann took Purina cat chow from her bowl and hid it on the couch underneath the torn curtains! (sigh) Oh...and another time, when she was alone, she decided to explore the bottom bookshelf. I guess she WISHED she could read!! Oh, my!!!!!! The mistress came home and found about a dozen nature books with the pages chewed and torn. She even found a book in the litter box!!! (GASP!) Oh well, who among us is without a FEW flaws!!??!!

One day the mistress was in the kitchen, and she heard Ann coughing and gagging. She ran into the laundry room...and there were the remnants of a rubber glove!! Yes...REMNANTS!! The fingers were gone and most of the palm. Ann had eaten it! The mistress rushed Ann to the veterinarian. (Luckily he only lived two miles away.) Ann was x-rayed, and it was determined some of the pieces were lodged in her throat and others in the stomach. The vet said they MUST be removed! Ann could not be given general anesthesia as he wasn't sure what type or amount would be safe for a fox. So...Ann stood very still as a long tube was put down her esophagus and into her stomach. Can you imagine a fox holding still for that procedure??? The mistress was quite amazed as she knew even her dogs, Snowball and Shannon, would not be able to be calm for THAT!! The vet extracted the rubber glove remnants, and instructed the mistress to give Ann milk of magnesia in her food for a couple of days. (Yuk...even the mistress hates that stuff!!)

Ann went with the master, the mistress, and Shannon on many, many car rides. She saw sights that OTHER foxes would never see!! Why, she even walked down the sidewalks of Charlotte, North Carolina and drew many stares and questions!! She was petted..and just....well...spoiled to death by all who saw her!!

One day, after Ann had lived in this nice home for about seven years, a call came from the mistress's old home in the North. The master and mistress had to leave at once.....for there had been a tragedy in the family. They hired a man to care for Shannon, Snowball, the felines, goats, ferrets, chickens, turkeys, chinchillas, snakes...and of course, Ann. Ann was left in the outside pen, and the man instructed to give her food and water daily. Of course, the man only came here once a day to do the chores. For many long hours, there was no one to oversee the South Carolina Home.
 

While in the North, the mistress received a phone call. There had been a dreadful accident. The man came to do the chores one day....and found Ann had been shot. It was too late for a veterinarian......much too late. (sigh)
 

Well, I have told you Ann's story, and there's really nothing more to say. Except....well...the mistress loved her DEARLY.....and with her passing, a part of the mistress's life was gone. Well, I must go back to my den now, for I have related the story as only a fox could, and the mistress wishes to add something. Good-bye all....and remember.......BE KIND TO FOXES!!!
 

(The Mistress speaks:) Well, visitors, you have read about my good fox friend, Ann, and I wish to add a few more words. Ann came to us........needing help. I believe her mother had been killed by a neighbor's dog or possibly a bobcat. Whether she had littermates, I don't know. We searched the woods, but found no other babies. Ann became an integral part of our family, and was my friend and pal. However, I would NEVER, EVER recommend ANYONE taking a baby fox from a den, nor would I advise trying to buy one. If you see a baby fox in the woods, watch closely, for the parents are usually not far away. Foxes belong in the wild......with their own kind. If you should ever see a GROWN fox in your yard or in the woods acting strange or peculiar..then leave....immediately... and report the incident to your local game warden. Foxes can and do carry rabies!! It is NEVER customary for a full-grown fox raised in the wild to approach humans. Ann was probably only three weeks old when she entered our lives....just barely weaned. I think she thought of our dog, Shannon, as a mother fox substitute and followed her home. Shannon was also a very intelligent dog and perhaps led her back knowing we would help her. We did NOT release Ann back into the wild because she would never have survived. She trusted humans and would have trotted up to anyone...hoping to make a friend. Also.....remember this....ALWAYS.....each animal, whether it be a fox, dog, cat, ferret, snake, raccoon, or even a fish has its own distinct personality. ANN WAS SPECIAL!! Not all foxes grow up to be friendly with such dog-like qualities. Ann never bit anyone, but all foxes are equipped to bite and defend themselves. So, please...after reading Ann's story,, don't go out looking for a baby fox. Most DO have parents and siblings and belong in the wild. I consider myself fortunate that I had the opportunity to help a wild creature in need and that a wonderful kinship developed between Ann and myself. I was indeed blessed with knowing Ann, and I shall never, ever forget her.
 


 

This was the home we designed as an outdoor area where Ann could also romp with out wonderful dog, Shannon. A very long stovepipe was used underground to simulate a fox den. While Ann enjoyed spending part of a nice day outside, she much preferred our house..and the couch!
 
 
 
 

COMING SOON.....MORE STORIES AND INFORMATION ABOUT OUR PETS...BOTH TAME AND A FEW WILD ONES WHO NEEDED OUR HELP FOR A TIME. ALSO I WILL BE GIVING OUT INFORMATION ON CARING FOR ORPHAN ANIMAL BABIES AS WE HAVE RAISED MANY TO LATER BE RELEASED INTO THE WILD. SO...STAY TUNED AND BOOKMARK THIS PAGE!!
 
 

If you liked this story and would like to read more about our animal pets and friends, please drop me a line! Also any comments or suggestions would be appreciated! Candy Hawblitz

Ann's relatives ask you to please put your "paw" here and visit her home state!

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