Wednesday, January 22, 2014

My Special Friend

My special friend came visiting today, appearing outside my office window just before noon. The sun was well up in the sky, shining brightly if rather anemically, and I'd just returned from a trip out back to distribute some fresh sunflower seed, peanuts, and thistle. The birds seemed giddy with the relative warmth, swooping into the feeders and hopping about on the ground,  titmice, cardinals, chickadees, sparrows, goldfinch, and juncos en masse, appreciative of the new food supply. The next time I glanced out the window however, my fox friend was munching the seed from the bottom of the overturned planter, and there wasn't a bird in sight.

This red fox is very special to me, and always welcome to partake of the bird buffet. 

It was grievously injured last summer, hit by a car most likely. The fox suffered a compound fracture of its left rear leg, an injury that traumatized me as much as it traumatized the fox. I quickly learned that none of the animal rescue or wildlife agencies will intervene in such a situation. The best advice I got was to call the police and see if I could talk them into coming over and shooting it. If the fox had been immobilized, I no doubt would have gone that route, to put it out of its misery. But it was still mobile, and would hop off into the woods as soon as it caught sight of any movement. 

Thus began days and weeks of emotional anguish, as the hapless thing refused to die, hopping about with that horrible injury, passing my window every few days. I eventually closed the blinds to my office window and left them down, as I could not bear to see it. Not knowing what else to do, I began praying for this fox. I asked friends and family to pray for it, despite the fact that I was fairly sure this would ensure my being labeled a lunatic. After all, how many wild animals get injured and killed every minute of every day, right? My pastor was good enough not to ridicule my distress, and he offered the following prayer, which I prayed every time I saw it, and whenever I became upset thinking about it - 

We humbly pray Lord, that in Your mercy 
You would relieve the suffering of Your creatures.
For surely, You are the Creator of all and 
You desire the wholeness of all You have created.

I prayed this prayer as I wept for it on this afternoon in September, as it napped in my garden three weeks after the injury. When I first noticed it lying out there, I thought "well that's great, it has come to die in my garden." But it wasn't dying, just peacefully napping. It smelled me through the open window when I crept closer to get a better look, eventually getting up and limping away.

There is more to this story, more than I can tell here, more than I'm comfortable telling here. It is healed and healthy now, and a regular visitor to the bird feeders I've put out for the winter, getting around on three legs as well as other animals do on four. Suffice it to say that this beautiful red fox represents for me miracle and mystery, as well as a powerful lesson in humility. Despite what I had previously imagined, it actually isn't my job to take care of, and personally be responsible for, every being on earth. I have other work to do. I can however, still love these creatures. And oh my, do I love this fox. 

(Yep, there's seed up there too! 
Help yourself, you beautiful and tenacious creature.)


  1. So happy you prayed for this beautiful fox! (((BIGHUG)))

  2. What a stunning creature! I am sure your prayers were heard, and apparently answered. Thanks for sharing him with us.

  3. This fox was obviously meant to wander into your garden. How helpless you must have felt, and yet you did so much for him. He's so beautiful! And I'm sure he appreciates all the birdseed :)

  4. Oh man!!! How wonderful seeing a fox. He is beautiful

  5. Thank you for being a true animal lover. How wonderful to have your prayer answered. The fox is beautiful and I am glad he survived! Good for you providing food for everyone this winter. You are a saint!

  6. Ahhh, I am SO happy to see the fox as a blog subject. Upon hearing about the fox, I've NEVER been able to look at them the same. Whenever I see one, I think of the miracle, of God's love and caring. Great photos. I'm happy to see the fox enjoy his meal.

  7. And this is a perfect illustration of what I'm always telling my bride about you (when I share one of your insightful blogs with her) You're simply one of the sweetest, most caring individuals I've had the opportunity to know. And blogs like this one show me that you've not changed a bit. Rhonda and I are seriously jonesing for a trip to Asheville sometime in the next year or so - would love to meet up for dinner, maybe come see your foxes and bears ("Oh my!") take care...

  8. Oh, Brenda, what a beautiful story!

  9. Thank you all for your kind words for the fox and for me too. However I'm going to have to pass on the saint title - "sucker" is more like it, lol! I am fairly convinced that every animal and bird within 10 square miles knows where the the sucker's house is. Word gets out..."hey, come on over here, this lady puts food out three times a day!"

  10. Wow! What a gorgeous creature! Love red fox, and I have four videos from Discovery Channel and National Geographic about them.
    You took amazing pictures, Brenda!

  11. what a beautiful fox, and a beautiful story. i don't know what the mysterious part is that you're not willing to share, but i'm happy that the fox is now healthy and back at the feeder. he's gorgeous, and i hope he stays far away from cars in the future.

  12. Brenda, I have hopped to you from your comment to KB, and I would be exactly the same for that beautiful fox. Over many years we have had cats arrive at our various homes, pass through, stay for a while, or for longer, They chose us, just as he chose you, for a special reason, and answered prayers have given him mobility, and trust to return for food. Bless you for caring. I hope I can add you to my ever increasing blog list. Cheers from Jean in NZ way down under..