It all started with a message from the breeder, in June of 2021, that someone put down a deposit on a fox kit that never came to pick her up. That is where the journey with Kit began! It was my husband's childhood love for foxes that sent us to bring her home and introduce her to our 'zoo'. Unprepared for what fox ownership entailed, we began learning very quickly through research and asking questions. There is a misconception that foxes are 'domesticated'. It is more along the lines of taming, which is done to an individual animal and not a population. It is accomplished by accustoming the animal to having humans in their environment and is most effective when done at a very young age before a natural fear of humans takes over. A tame fox might be great with a given person, but not all people. Kit was 11 weeks old when we picked her up, so we were LATE from the start. To make matters worse, she went missing 6 days later escaping from her soon to be outdoor enclosure and survived the wild for 3 weeks. Through the amazing support of our community, Kit was found hiding in the drain pipe at the end of someone's driveway by a dog named Tilly who had sniffed her out and wasn't willing to leave. THANK GOD FOR TILLY! Once we retrieved her, our focus quickly changed from rescue and recovery, to a lifesaving mission because Kit had sustained horrendous injuries. This is where our knowledge really began to increase as we quickly needed to learn severe wound care, pain management and fox behavior(s). Multiple times throughout the day her wounds were flushed, maggots were removed and the wounds redressed. Kit had to be given iv fluids from being severely dehydrated. She was lethargic and wouldn't eat at first... but we kept moving forward.
After several weeks of intense care, Kit surprisingly made a full recovery without the need for the expensive surgery that we were initially advised would be essential to close her wound. Kit and I began working together day in and day out as my hope was to establish a trust and bond with her. Being older from the beginning and 3 weeks in the wild, operating in survival mode, had a severe impact on our ability to do that and developing any sort of deep bond would be very difficult, if not impossible. I continued to work with her learning more about the intricacies behind her behaviors. We had been advised by fox owners and rescue experts, that in order for her to really have a full and happy life in captivity, she needed a partner... another fox to bond with. That is when my husband and I considered taking in Kit's 'brother' from the breeder. They say timing is everything! Bill was leaving on hurricane relief and we decided that it may be a little too much, especially given the fact that we didn't have the proper enclosure to take in another fox. Additionally, we were concerned if after the time apart, they would even get along. We made the difficult decision to wait and that fox ended up with a rescue in Michigan. I began to wonder about how much of a need there was for the rescue and placement of captive bred foxes. Based on what I was seeing, owner and fur farm surrenders, I tossed around the idea of rescue. But again, it's all in the timing. When Bill returned from Golden Meadows, LA following his deployment, we knew that we needed to do something more for Kit. I considered adopting a fox at this point... It wasn't until I saw a Facebook post about a fur farmer in Wisconsin that had passed away and his widow was selling off their breeding pairs, first come first serve. I reached out to one of the organizations that I had been in contact with, who offered advise on Kit, to see if they were aware of the sale. I asked what we could do and offered my assistance however needed. Leading the fundraising effort for this mission, I was asked about my interest in taking a buddy for Kit. That is when Bear entered our lives and we were forever changed... given my background as a foster for another organization and the experience and knowledge gained through Kit was the moment when Fox Tale Sanctuary went from an idea to fruition... and the ball began to roll.