Saving Mr. Fox


Just last weekend, I decided that as it was finally December and I, like 80 percent of the rest of the country, decided I would put my Christmas tree and decorations up. With the days having drawn in so much I wanted to get the decorations up, if only for the extra lights they would give me in the dark mornings and afternoons.

I planned it all out. Friday evening after work, I would get all the boxes out ready to get going first thing on Saturday. These days I have to put a little more planning into things so that I have enough time to pace myself and take a few rests along the way. (If you’ve no idea what I’m talking about, please see my previous blog for details).

Saturday morning arrived and I was tired from having just started working on air again that week, so I was a bit bleary eyed to say the least and the effort of trying to haul myself out of bed felt something akin to those unworthy knights who strained and strained, but try as they might could not manage to extract the sword of Excalibur from the stone, such were my efforts to extricate myself from under the duvet.

Eventually I got myself up and after a late(ish) and rather extended breakfast (followed swiftly by a post-breakfast rest on the sofa watching Saturday morning telly) I eventually got myself up and into action. As I made my way past the window, I happened to look out and see, right at the far end of a cul de sac street opposite my building, a small, thin fox that was standing motionless in the road. Some children were standing near it and their father emerged from their house with some food, which he placed right under the nose of this little fox. How lovely is that, I thought to myself. The father showing the children how important is to be kind to all animals and treat them humanely. How gentle of the wild fox to just stand there, unflinching, and accept the food parcel placed before him.

The more I looked though, the more this wholesome little scene seemed anything but – there was something that didn’t feel right about it.

The father lead his children away but the fox continued to just stand there. Then I noticed him sway and as he started to walk away, he did so sideways, legs crossing over legs, in a manner that I can, regrettably, only describe as comical. The sort of drunken walk you’d see in a comedy sketch. As I was thinking, this Mr. Fox stumbled and his legs buckled beneath him. My heart leapt into my mouth as his little face smashed into the road, I gasped audibly. I knew it. Mr Fox wasn’t well. Something was definitely wrong. What should I do? He was a wild urban fox – who would help such an animal? Who do I call? What do I do? Should I just leave him there? Could I pretend I hadn’t seen it or that it wasn’t my problem? I couldn’t.

The memory of the feeling of desperation you get when you are so unwell you can’t cope for yourself and you just want someone, anyone, to come and help came washing over me. I suddenly felt quite emotional about this little fox. ‘Ok, Mr. Fox, I’m here for you, hang on’, I thought to myself.

Without really thinking, I grabbed my phone and started googling, ‘injured fox’ and ‘how to help injured wild animal’. I didn’t really know what to do. Then four letters popped into my head – RSPCA.

Those four letters were my next search. I got a number which turned out to be for an RSPCA charity shop in North London. They gave me a National Number to call. Either, in my haste, I had written it down incorrectly or they had given me the wrong number, but it wasn’t working.

I started googling again, RSPCA emergency number. A number I hadn’t already tried came up. I dialled it. They had one of those automated, multiple choice services the moment I dialled the number. What part of the country was I in? Press #1 for north of England, press #2 for London etc. Then I had to choose the option for what the issue was – Press #1 if I had received a card from RSPCA and been asked to call, Press #2 if my enquiry was……. aaargh. My heart was racing. Poor Mr. Fox doesn’t have time for this. I started to panic for him, my heart was racing – something I really shouldn’t be letting my heart do!

Eventually I got to speak to an operator. I explained the situation, and I also explained that I could see the fox and he wasn’t going anywhere because he wasn’t able. I assured the operator that I would stay with the fox and if anything changed I would call back and let them know, if they would just send someone to help. PLEASE, I begged her. The reason I confirmed I would keep an eye on the fox and let them know if anything changes is that somewhere during the course of my google search I read somewhere that help usually isn’t provided if the animal isn’t secured, as millions of pounds go to waste each year dispatching officers to animals who have gone or can’t be found by the time they get there.

The operator assured me she would send someone and to expect a call from an officer out in the community to confirm my location and the condition of the animal etc.

I thanked her and hung up. I realised I was still in my pyjamas – I had been planning an morning (and possible afternoon) of Christmas music and decorations after all.

I didn’t want to take my eyes off Mr. Fox but I had to get dressed. I dashed to the bedroom threw on whatever I could find that was warm. I didn’t even comb my hair, shower or brush my teeth. Definitely not the usual well-groomed version of myself. Sometimes some things are more important. Hopping down the hallway of my flat, I was trying to slip on one of my trainers without untying it whilst at the same time trying to run to get out of the flat as quickly as possible, which was not one of my more graceful moments either! I just felt this terrible panic inside for Mr. Fox.

When I got outside and crossed the road I couldn’t see him. Oh no – had he gone? Was I going to have to call the RSPCA and cancel them despite my assurances?

Then, as I approached the front end of a car, I saw him there cowering in the cold and wet. My instinct was to reach out and stroke him for reassurance. This was a wild animal, though, and he was ill so he would be unpredictable and possibly dangerous. Just as I was thinking this, he stumbled towards me, still moving like someone in a state of total intoxication. His head was bowed. The further I backed away the closer he came. He clearly wanted to be helped. The only way I can describe it is that he was behaving like a family dog who knows who to go to when he wants a treat and a cuddle. I felt so bad for him.

For lack of knowing what else to do, I started to chat to him like he could understand me (much like I did with my own dogs when I was young). ‘Don’t worry’, ‘stay here with me’, ‘the RSPCA are coming’, ‘it’ll be ok’. Was I convincing him or myself?

In the meantime, a resident of the block of apartments he was outside of came out with a bowl of water and a plastic box with an old Mickey Mouse towel she had had since she was a young girl. She had folded the towel inside the box to make a sort of bed.

Meanwhile Mr. Fox kept losing his legs from under him and bashing his muzzle into the road beneath him, completely unable to hold himself up.

He did get into the bed at one point, and it took him about 5 minutes to get into it because of being so unsteady and uncoordinated. I prayed he would lie down in the bed and sleep but his instinct to stay on his feet in case of danger was strong.

After a few hours of waiting with him in the street, I was so relieved to see the sight of the RSPCA van pulling up.

Mr. Fox was taken away to see the vet by this young man, having put up absolutely no resistance whatsoever to being picked up and out in a cage. I knew that was a bad sign but I prayed they could do something for him.

Regrettably, after all of our efforts, Mr. Fox did not make it. He was much too sick and wouldn’t have made it through the night. We suspected poisoning, we assume accidental, but who knows. So the vet did the best thing he could for him and let him drift out of pain and off to somewhere much better than the the cold, wet asphalt of a busy road in London.

I can’t stop thinking about Mr. Fox. I feel a little emotional about. Poor thing. I know there are those who have different views of foxes, i.e. some see them as vermin. I’m afraid I couldn’t see him as anything other than a poor animal that was suffering and that needed help. Perhaps a timely reminder to all of us at this time of year to look after our animals and, if we can, to look after those charities that do such an amazing job at looking after the welfare of poor animals that can’t look after themselves, both the wild and the domesticated varieties.

As the RSPCA officer was leaving, I got a donation envelope from him to make a contribution. If you would like to do so as well, I have included the details. As the RSPCA say: it takes all of us to create a world that’s kinder to animals.

Donate to the RSPCA here.

Or call their donation number on: 0300 123 8181

The RSPCA’s supporter promise.

Until next time. Be kind to animals, and each other!

Míceál xxx


  1. jo edwards December 5, 2018 at 11:53 am -  Reply

    well done you,at least you were there in his time of need and stayed with him
    hope you are feeling better,

  2. victoria sladen December 5, 2018 at 12:13 pm -  Reply

    Thank you for caring for this little soul. I wish there were more people like you in this world.

  3. Joanna Downey December 5, 2018 at 12:19 pm -  Reply

    Miceal, You are such a lovely man. You couldn’t save him but made the end of his life so much easier. All the best for your continued recovery. Jo x

  4. Karen B December 5, 2018 at 12:30 pm -  Reply

    How kind you are, especially as you are on your road to recovery yourself. So very thoughtful of you. The RSPCA are fantastic. I work at the charity shop in West London that had that adorable little dog abandoned outside and then too the RSPCA came to the rescue after they where contacted. You are so right – be kind to animals and each other x x

  5. Wendy Campbell December 5, 2018 at 12:43 pm -  Reply

    What an emotional rollercoaster, poor fox, poor you, be affirmed in the knowledge you did all you could and his last moments were with people who showed him care, kindness and compassion. Now you take care of you. I too have been ill for the past two years, gone from a normal working/family life to a life on the sofa or in bed, no energy, but I stay positive in the knowledge it will get better, most importantly I no longer give myself a hard time about how long it’s taking, it’s just one of those things. Stay positive and find joy in the little

  6. Karen Whenman December 5, 2018 at 12:46 pm -  Reply

    Aww, brought tears to my eyes!! Well done Micael, sadly couldn’t save Mr Fox, but it was much kinder for him than to lay there suffering. Will make a donation to the RSPCA as well. Kindness really helps and if everyone showed a little kindness in some form or other, then the world would be a much nicer place to live……Nice to see you back on air, hope you are recovering well. x

  7. Karen December 5, 2018 at 12:49 pm -  Reply

    You’re right they’re not vermin, just animals who are trying, like us to survive. You are a beautiful, beautiful man, very kind and compassionate, God bless you xxx

  8. dee December 5, 2018 at 1:06 pm -  Reply

    thank you for trying miceal x

  9. Lorraine Wash December 5, 2018 at 1:11 pm -  Reply

    Aahhh that is so sad, it really upset me. I think foxes are beautiful creatures and, though I would not approach one, I cannot bear to think of them suffering and not being able to tell anybody how ill they feel.
    I am sure the fox would thank you for your kindness in doing everything you could to help him.
    Sending you all good wishes too for a speedy recovery.

  10. Lynda lee December 5, 2018 at 2:01 pm -  Reply

    Thank goodness there are good people like you about, I would have done the same. Poor fox but you stopped his suffering. Thank you.

  11. Sheila Reid December 5, 2018 at 5:49 pm -  Reply

    Hello Micael,I’ve just read your blog with baited breath and felt so sad when I realised the final outcome.The good thing is that Mr Fox’s final experiences of his life on Earth were of your kindness and the RSPCA caring for his welfare.Animals don’t ask much and they deserve our care and attention.Thank you for looking after him.

  12. Sharka December 5, 2018 at 6:08 pm -  Reply

    Thank you for caring, now take care of you.

  13. Nikki December 5, 2018 at 6:35 pm -  Reply

    This is the second blog, in two weeks of yours that’s reduced me to tears! it’s fabulous that you showed a Sentient being care and compassion, in their time of need. Poor Mr Fox. I’m so pleased that the RSPCA managed to alleviate his suffering. How someone can posion an animal is beyond me. It’s utterly cruel, and barbaric.
    One of our Cats got attacked by a Fox, which resulted in a big operation for her. Fortunately she survived and she’s still going strong. Would I have wanted to hurt that Fox? absolutely not, he/she was doing what came naturally to them. We just made our property safer for our Fur Babies, but as any Cat owner knows, there’s only so much their Servants can do, as they’re wilful and like to explore.
    You’re obviously a deeply caring individual, and thank Goodness. If only there were more People like you around. XxX

  14. Val December 5, 2018 at 8:25 pm -  Reply

    I read your blog with a lump in my throat! You are a lovely kind human being and someone up above sent that fox to you at that moment in time knowing he wouldn’t be ignored.
    Most would have watched and sighed and done nothing!
    Kindness doesn’t go unrewarded… Have a lovely Christmas 👍

  15. Janet December 5, 2018 at 8:44 pm -  Reply

    Such a caring thing to do. You are a star. Could do with many more like you around! Keep up to the good work and be patient with your recovery. Takes quite some time to retain your stamina. X

  16. Ruth Paton December 5, 2018 at 10:10 pm -  Reply

    Oh Michaels
    That was wonderful what you tried to do
    I’m glad Mr Fox saw some human kindness which unfortunately his species doesn’t often receive Bless you for your effort and I wish you a very Merry Christmas and just continue to be the lovely man that you Are

  17. Sandy Hill December 5, 2018 at 11:23 pm -  Reply

    Ah how very sad for that little fox, Bless him. I wish he could have been saved.I love foxes and do not see them as vermin. How can people think that! You did right trying to help him.We should all look out for these poor animals. I donate monthly to RSPCA, Dogs trust, Battersea cats and dogs and cats protection. Thank you for helping the fox, you ate a ovely person, xx

  18. Donna December 5, 2018 at 11:56 pm -  Reply

    Thank you so much for staying with him/her and preventing it from a slower more awful death. They are beaitiful creatures to me and I feed 4 of them in my back garden . It is good to know that others care as at times you can feel that you are the only one.

  19. Victoria December 6, 2018 at 10:03 am -  Reply

    What a touching story and well done to you for helping. Thank you also for giving us the RSPCA emergency number, I have put it into my mobile phone, just in case.

  20. Loraine Coates December 6, 2018 at 3:01 pm -  Reply

    Hi Míceál
    I was so pleased to hear how kind you were to Mr Fox and (although sad) it was nice how moved you were by the plight of the poor thing-we need more kind people in this world!The NFWS are a good source of help/information regarding foxes and useful at this time of year when potentially fatal mange is around as they will send out free mange treatment. We know it works -we’ve treated two on our nighttime dog walks (aka “feed the foxes walk”!
    Also, great to see you back on air, and remember “A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor can a man be perfected without trials”, so you’re obviously well on the way to perfection!!!👌😃

  21. sue December 8, 2018 at 1:56 am -  Reply

    Thank you for looking after Mr Fox

  22. Joanne peate December 9, 2018 at 11:41 am -  Reply

    So glad to see you back Micheal have missed you.👍

  23. Kathryn Stewart December 10, 2018 at 6:40 pm -  Reply

    Tears streaming down my face Micheal. At least you tried. How very sad. I support the SSPCA (I live north of the border). I just crumble at sickness and cruelty to any creature, wild or tame. At least Mr Fox was put out of his misery and passed away comfortably. The other option doesn’t bear thinking about x

  24. Angela Dunne December 12, 2018 at 9:37 pm -  Reply

    That’s so sad,poor fox.Thank you for caring, at least he had someone there in the end and hopefully was spared any suffering.Hope you are getting better and take things slowly.

  25. Jill Rycroft December 14, 2018 at 3:52 pm -  Reply

    What a lovely thing to do to care about a stray animal not knowing where he’d come from just recognising that he needed help and you did all you could to that end. By the way it was lovely to see you back at Q last week and you’re looking so well but remember don’t overdo it and rest as much as you can. Have a great Christmas.

  26. Jenny December 15, 2018 at 1:23 am -  Reply

    Hi Miceal, thank you so much for careing, i would have done the same thing and i know lots of other people who would too. You are a wonderful human being who brings happiness to so many. I do believe all living things are connected to a divine energy and to reach out when any living thing is in need is a great thing to do. Those people who have not felt the happiness of helping a soul in need dont realise it helps the helper as much as the person or animal in need, they should try it and see how your life will change. Have a wonderful xmas Miceal, and know there are people thinking of you sending possitive messages, best wishes Jenny

  27. Kim Egan December 16, 2018 at 8:28 pm -  Reply

    Thank you, Michael. God bless you, Mr. Fox x

  28. Brenda Watson December 17, 2018 at 5:50 pm -  Reply

    I always think that people who care about helpless animals are very special you obviously are a very special person.
    Health and happiness in the New year xx

  29. Susan December 18, 2018 at 8:05 pm -  Reply

    Hi Miceal,
    So sad that someone has done this and caused so much pain to an animal. The poor little thing and it must have felt so lost and alone creeping towards you for help. Not everyone can identify with that. Take care of yourself x

  30. Pat December 28, 2018 at 10:49 pm -  Reply

    You are a very special person, I also believe that poor little fox knew you cared so very much. Poor fox to be poisoned by some one who thinks it is ok to do so, he must have been so scared. You did your very best and that will be with you and I’m sure Mr Fox will be looking down and thanking you for all you did for him. I wish you and your family a healthy and happy new year. God bless you Miceal xx

  31. Lisa Fewtrell February 20, 2019 at 10:59 pm -  Reply

    I love this post, I would have done exactly the same, bless you xxx

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