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Puzzle Pieces & Unpleasant Choices

June 5, 2014

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo it’s been a rough week. A couple youngsters lost, Connor’s Silver Fox doe broke her back for reasons unknown – and unfortunately it’s usually a fatal injury for rabbits.

Rabbits can kick and stomp hard enough to cause injury – if something upsets them, harasses them or scares them. She’s always been a spirited doe (putting it nicely!) but sure didn’t want to see her hurt. She’s been a good mama, and we have a daughter of hers and a grandson contributing to the meat herd. What caused the problem we didn’t know – they’re used to our dogs, we restrict visitors to reduce them being upset by strangers. Things happen. We grumble, shed a tear, sigh and go on. But it’s puzzled me why she got that upset.

Then was the fur that Paul put up to cure that was torn up. He/we blamed the dogs…but didn’t know which one as none we knew of had access, but it was the only thing that made sense.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThen this morning. Kitty, our macaw, sits in the kitchen window. She’s a character, and a couple days ago was found abnormally coming into the living room. She has taken on a dog or two before so when we hear squawking or yelping we run.

Kitty rules the roost with an iron wing. She picks on the dogs and cats without mercy, and most run from her. She doesn’t like arguments or raised voices. Due to her exploring the other day we closed her in her cage last night for her own protection.

This morning early she not just squawked but threw a FIT! Screaming, making enough noise to scare the sleeping dogs and bolt all of us out of bed. We rushed to the kitchen, thinking she was hung up on something. She wasn’t, but was pacing furiously in her cage, upset at something we didn’t see. She was beyond rattled.

Then a few hours later we spied a visitor. Heartsick doesn’t even approach it and it might be circumstantial but it sure puts some pieces together.

We enjoy playing host to wildlife – and have shared “our babies” that were hatched and raised in the back near the rabbit shed. Cardinals, wrens, even occasionally bossy blue jays.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis one, however, is very sick. Painfully skinny, unable to see well due to mange, looked like he/she had already had some run-ins with neighborhood dogs or something from the ragged ears.

It certainly would upset a rabbit if under her cage. If it thought an easy meal it might grab a fur. And would generate a reaction if walking towards the front and in Kitty’s view.

Unfortunately there is no wildlife rehab to take in a fox here. Especially one that needs treatment, and the possibility of distemper, parvo or rabies. The nearest place to even talk to me was a couple of counties away and there’s no telling if it’ll hang around. That side of the fence is quiet – finding it on this side in the back yard was unnerving. Bella had not alerted and was not threatened by it…and it didn’t really seem concerned with her other than defensively not wanting attacked.

Unfortunately, survival of the fittest is real. And unfortunately wildlife doesn’t always have help – we could not treat and rehab a fox even if we had the funds. Getting acclimated to poultry and rabbits is not conducive to a long life for wildlife, especially canines, and they’re not pets.

It’ll probably be put down if seen. Unpleasant, but kinder than letting roaming dogs tear it apart when it can’t see well to defend itself, or starving to death as it’s unable to hunt for food. Those boards are six inches – the stress and suffering is clear.

Nature is not always kind. The movies and television programs that show wildlife in good times usually doesn’t show those like the sick fox. We prefer to not think of that. It’s easier to protect our animals from one that isn’t desperately hungry and sick.

Sometimes there’s no good choices, but we must protect our animals and unfortunately that means sometimes taking care of nature’s castoffs. Some folks have bear, deer, elk or other animals. Many face coyotes, and even wolves. Many like watching them when healthy, and they make their homes on many farms and ranches.

I’d have never thought a fox would visit here. Sometimes it’s just not fair.

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