Courtesy Ana Lapaz-Mendez / Instagram
In the fictional story The Fox and the Hound, the orphaned red fox Tod befriends Copper, the hunting dog. When chaos ensues, they find a way to remain loyal to each other, although it is inevitable that their lives will have to follow different paths.
This true fox and dog tale has a much happier ending! Ana Lapaz-Mendez treats all kinds of animals as a veterinarian in a clinic in Watford, an English town north-west of London. In October 2020 she published on her Instagram page: “Pumpkin the fox came to us with two broken legs and half dead.” Although she received emergency treatment, her condition was serious.
But with a little loving attention, Lapaz-Mendez helped this poor blind vixen (we mean that in a good way – that’s the name for a female fox!) Regain her health. “Our little warrior. Foxes are super resilient and true fighters. That’s why I think this one deserves a chance, the same chance I would give my own dog or cat because they want to live as much as we do,” said they sent. “As long as she wants to fight, we will fight her.”
One innovative solution was to build a recreational hammock so that Pumpkin didn’t have to hunker down on her broken legs!
Now Lapaz-Mendez already had a rescue dog, Croqueta. But she couldn’t let Pumpkin go, so she took the little fox home to create more nurturing surroundings. Fox and Hound got along well, and Pumpkin learned to find their way around. Her walks were a little hesitant at first, but as she healed more of her sparkling fox personality showed.
But the main dog in this story is Jack. This charming West Highland white terrier, a regular patient at the Lapaz-Mendez clinic, was orphaned after his human died. He also had serious health problems, including a spinal tumor that did not respond to treatment. As a result, Jack lost the use of his hind legs. But full of joy and determination, once he was equipped with two wheels, he was unstoppable!
The story goes on
Now Jack is the leader of Lapaz-Mendez’s pack because she just had to adopt him too! Pumpkin listens to Jack’s dishes ringing and follows him on every walk. Always striving to find a path, Jack stops and turns around when he senses Pumpkin is not keeping pace. There’s no pile of leaves or a muddy hole that these two don’t travel through together!
Neither the blind fox nor the dog on wheels let their disabilities prevent them from leading their best lives. As unlikely animal lovers with a lot of getting up and walking, they inspire us to get up from the couch every now and then!
CONNECTED: Unlikely animal lovers Henry and Baloo explore the great outdoors
We’re also in awe of the magic Lapaz-Mendez uses to save animals every day, but their commitment to this little trio is truly amazing. She calls them her three musketeers. Who saved whom? We ask ourselves?
Foxes are just adorable. We understand! But we tend to listen to the expert when she says they aren’t always the best pets and don’t take them in. “I wouldn’t recommend that to anyone. Foxes are hard work, they’re shy and it takes forever to trust you,” Lapaz-Mendez said in an Instagram post. “They’ll also climb any fence and dig very deep tunnels if they choose to. They run like zombies when they’re scared, and bite and scratch people, walls, doors, and furniture when they want out.”
Lapaz-Mendez added that foxes need a lot of space and freedom, even when they feel safe around you. But as soon as an injured animal shapes people, they can no longer be released into the wild and survive. Fortunately, there are many fox sanctuaries in place to protect rehabilitated animals. So if you find an injured or orphaned fox, work with your veterinarian to secure her a new home somewhere like the Yellowstone Wildlife Sanctuary.