It is my second blog post about Patsy Gibbons and his foxes. In early April, almost 4 months ago, I went live with a blog post KINDNESS, amazed with my own boldness, and having a very little knowledge about blogging rules and ethics. Still learning.
That time Pat invited us to come again in summer when the foxes look gorgeous on the green meadow. Two weeks ago a friend of mine arranged a visit, but when he rang to confirm it Pat told him that he is in the hospital waiting for admission. They kept him in from Monday to Thursday; Pat’s brother fed the foxes, but they had to stay in their pen all this time, and they also missed their bath – a day when they all walk to the pond to get bathed. Needless to say, the foxes were upset, Pat wasn’t feeling well either, so this visit was short, and I left sad and worried .
This is Gráinne. She is an easy going, clever and curious lady, devoted to her master. Back in 2007 Pat’s brother-in-law Eugene was working in a storeroom and getting the cardboard boxes ready for shredding. To his surprise he found a fox cub inside a box, malnourished, almost dead: it could be there some 10 days without food or water. Eugene brought the cub to Pat who had helped the troubled creatures before. It is how the story started. Pat consulted with a local vet, and the cub was estimated as a 5-7 weeks old, and weighed 1 pound. It was not easy to nurse the little miracle back to life and health, but they did it! The cub got a lovely name: Gráinne.
Average life span of a wild fox is 2-3 years although a fox can live 10 years. Gráinne is in her senior age, but you would never guess it. She looks very healthy and happy on her rescuer’s shoulders; she has had a long life of mutual love, adventures and little pleasures. Gráinne run away twice, but was back for dinner the same day. How did she run away? She just snapped the leather leash when at walk. That easy, so if she wanted she could run away any time.
This is Minnie. Minnie is a bit of a drama queen. When we came into the pen, she was whimpering and howling, and putting on these funny faces, so that she had to be petted and rubbed and hugged all the way. Minnie is 5 years old. A woman from next village brought her to Pat when she was a month-old cub.
This is Henry, he is named after Kilkenny hurler Henry Shefflin. A man brought him to Pat a year ago after his dogs attacked and mauled him. Pat thought he would have to put him down, so bad he was. His ligaments were cut, his head was severe injured, especially his bottom jaw and left eye. Pat nursed him back to health, but it took a while. Henry is a gentle and affectionate creature. Pat calls his female foxes “girls”, but Henry he calls “son”.
The foxes have a clean den with three separate compartments for privacy. Every fox has their favorite place on the shelves. In the evening they are brought into the cottage ( they are house-trained) along with Pat’s two dogs, and enjoy the time together watching TV or listening to Pat playing his harmonica. The foxes and the dogs are cuddling together, and actually the foxes feel more at ease when they go for a walk together with the dogs. Sometimes they get a snack – a biscuit or a wine gum. They adore the wine gums.
“You all right, son?” Patsy would ask and hug his little boy.
Henry’s left eye is still sore and probably will never get better. He is enjoying a few minutes in the sun and then Pat takes him back to the pen. Now it is the girls’ turn to go outside but Minnie has her drama moment 🙂
Minnie actually needs some extra exercises for her good, but she stalls and refuses to walk.
In the middle of this drama a car stops and people start taking pictures of Pat. It happens on a regular basic but Pat doesn’t like it. He would rather they stop, get out of their car, have a small talk and then take the pictures.
Minnie gets her way.
Pat is getting his girls ready for the portrait:)
Look at Minnie’s face. What a drama! 🙂
Pat has a kind heart and angelic patience. Minnie is getting all his attention:)
We had a good chat, but look at Minnie 🙂 Her facial expression speaks for itself. Pat says that he should better take the foxes back to their pen.
I wish them many happy years together.
PS I have found an article which says that a spokeswoman with Wildlife Rehabilitation Ireland has criticised the media for writing about Pat Gibbons and his foxes thus promoting a dangerous and irresponsible attitude towards the wild animals. What do you think about it?
Photography tip of the day: Karl Taylor’s 10 minutes video.
I enjoyed reading about the foxes and Patsy. I hope that by now, he continues to feel much better.
About the Rehab group article criticizing Patsy and media that wrote about Patsy: How is showing human kindness to other living beings “promoting a dangerous and irresponsible attitude towards the wild animals”? We should all have the heart and kindness that Patsy has expressed to animals that may have otherwise died without his help. I have not read that article but I have to say that criticizing anyone doesn’t help matters. I understand that there is a certain way one is supposed to treat nature and wild animals. However, it doesn’t have to necessarily be that way all the time. There are always exceptions to the rules. And instead of criticizing others, if this group is a true authority figure of wildlife care, all they have to do is extend a hand in educating the public on what to do. Instead of criticizing well-intentioned people who are doing the best they can to help wild animals in need, all this organization has to do is to encourage possible volunteers (like Patsy) on how to care for the wild animals that they find. If I remember from the article I read in your first post, Patsy worked with a vet in trying to give the best care that he could to the foxes. My humble opinion is that Patsy did not intentionally promote a “dangerous and irresponsible attitude” toward the foxes. So, my question to this group is instead of finding blame in others, what have they done to encourage and teach the next person who would like to help wild animals. I think they most likely just trying to get a bit of publicity for themselves, but their article is NOT the correct way to do it. Sorry for the long comment. 🙂
P.S. Congrats on your award from the wonderful Aquileana! Well deserved! :
Thank you so much for this comment! I will find the article where this response was mentioned. It was an article in some National paper which brought this harsh response from the mentioned organisation, and also the fact that the local school invited Patsy and his foxes to teach the school kids about the wild animals ( exactly what you are talking about). All that made the Rehabilitation people mad. I would say that they just got jealous that this idea to cooperate with Pat wasn’t theirs. I was very upset reading that. It is when I decided to go and see him and the foxes by myself.
Thank you again! Have a good weekend!:)
Yes. Unfortunately, the Rehab folks are just jealous. And there’s no reason to be. Shame on them! I hope Patsy has a good support system. I’m sure he does. I also hope he’s able to get help in the near future, so that next time he is sick, there is someone who knows the routine of caring for the foxes and can care for them like Pat, when he’s away. That way, the foxes won’t miss their normal activities, etc…. I’m sending Pat good thoughts! 🙂
Thank you for your kind words! They trust him, and even that almost everybody can hold and pet them, I think it is only Pat with whom they would feel safe to go outside their den. You are right though, he has to train them to go for a walk with his brother, just in case.
Two comment posts, sorry! Didn’t think the first one took, but I love this post enough for doubling up.
Oh thank you Hattie! I love them all myself:))
Wonderful fox portraits and story. Clearly, Minnie is not comfortable getting her exercise on the street with cars.
No Hattie, usually she is all right:) She is a bit overweight and she really needs some exercises for her health, and Pat makes sure she walks every day. They do walk, together with the dogs, but these days everything is different… First of all, Patsy was away four days. It never happened before. No walks, no bath. And also I think that they can feel his worry, and his health problems too. Minnie likes attention, but this time it was too much:) It looked very funny, all the faces she made and all her body language, but I could see that the foxes were different this time, and we just gave them some rubbing but didn’t pick them up, not to put more pressure on them. Pat says that he feels better now. So hopefully their routines will continue as normal.
Beautiful portraits of the foxes. It looks as if Minnie doesn’t like getting her exercise on the street with cars passing. Me, either.
This was a beautiful post – the images were spot-on and a lovely story. People like Pat should be commended for taking the time to care for injured animals.
So agree with you, and thank you for stopping by! You should see them together, such an example for all humans.
Have a great weekend!
Great photos and what a character! I can’t see what the problem is if these foxes were abandoned or hurt and he’s taken them in.
Thank you for reading Andrea. I too don’t see any problem, but this was a response to an article in March this year, shortly before my first blog post. A very official response from an organisation I have never heard anything about before. I believe they do something sometimes, but I have never heard them educate the society. I think they have to sort out their own business first. Thanks again for your comment, have a great weekend!
Gorgeous photos and a heartwarming post!
I don’t know about your side of the Pond, but here in the U.S. it’s almost impossible to find an animal rehab establishment that will take “nusiance” animals. We found an infant raccoon and took care of him until he was able to eat by himself and then it took weeks to find someone to reintroduce him into the wild. Let the Wildlife Rehabilitation people grumble. This man rescued dying animals – he didn’t run to the pet store and buy a trendy, “exotic” pet!
I so agree with you! No one would take these animals, no rehabilitation centre. And after he nursed them, would he give them away? They have a bond stronger than some humans may have.
I will make a research about this centre anyway to learn what good they have done.
Great you helped that baby raccoon. Probably it wouldn’t make a dent in raccoon population if that little creature died, but it would make a dent in your humanity, right? My best wishes,
Super-dooper cool, Inese! 🙂 That has to be fun for all involved.
I bet Pat and his pets turn a lot of heads on their strolls about town.
Thank you for reading! Yes, Pat is our celebrity in the best meaning of the word:)
It is a beautiful series of beautiful creatures. Thank you for sharing 🙂
Thank you so much, I am really glad that so many people know about this amazing man!:)
Some absolutely stunning images.
Thank you Andrew! I was trying to show the love in my pictures:) Have a great weekend!
Thank you so much for this lovely little award. I just got word about it this morning from the WP app on my phone, and I gladly accept. In fact I’m writing the article at the same time as this comment. Multitasking huh!
Also a beautiful article on the relationship between a man and his foxes. He clearly is devoted to them and its especially touching that he took them in when they were in a bad way and has always been there for them. Here in London, I often see urban foxes. I’ve seen them skulking down the streets late at night, I’ve seen a fox perched on someone’s garage. Recently I saw this extra cute fox cub running in and out of the premises of the printing press opposite my residence, but I have never seen a perfect and mutual symbiosis between people and foxes before. Well done Pat!!.
Thank you so much for this comment! Yes, humanity has spread, and feeling superior people don’t think that they have taken somebody’s territory, especially if this “somebody” is just a wild animal… I also know that some people keep the foxes as pets, and sell them too… If you see a cute cub, let him walk away: if you touch him the other foxes might kill him because of the human smell. Pat didn’t take a healthy fox out of the natural habitat. He saved a dying animal. Thank you again for accepting the nomination and for your kind words. Have a great weekend!
very nice story about people wearing her heart in right place…your story and shots included…good luck to Patsy & the red bunch…
incredible at our location, cause of too many huntsman in our district…
they’re killing all that moves…
best wishes to IE as before…
Thank you for your kind words! It is the same here, all the hunting.
You know The Little Prince? He once said: You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.
Have a wonderful weekend!
I’ve only seen one here in the wild and that was quite a while ago – I believe the constant construction on South Florida has eliminated these poor creatures.
Thank you for stopping by. I have seen them in urban area, they are trying to survive, but as in this story, they are mauled by dogs, get trapped in rubbish, hit by cars… And then one day they are gone… I don’t blame the dogs here, you know:)
People have a tendency to become a plaque in some areas – at least as far as their damage to Nature.
May be they have to be educated – both on the Nature and on their humanity.
We can only keep trying to enlighten them!
Very nice post about love between souls 😉
Thank you for your kind comment! You are so right, the love is palpable there. This man is a story himself.
Have a great weekend! 🙂 Inese
And a wonderful weekend to you 😉
WOOOOOOW.. a real wild one
Well, not too wild anymore:) Thank you for stopping by!
Wow you are in Ireland! I didn’t realise that. (I see you are in Co. Tipperary, now I have looked!) I normally just look at people’s photos as I am suffering from a chronic illness that affects my concentration and reading and writing are quite a challenge for me. I struggle to do my blog, so may not be up to doing the award stuff, though I am very honoured to be nominated. My sister and her husband and two kids live in Dublin. We are Aussies. She is coming to visit us next week for the first time n 2 years and the first time ever without the kids.
I was enthralled by this story and made sure that my Mum (with whom I live and who cares for me along with my Dad) had a look at all the photos. We are big dog fanatics, so anything to do with dog like creatures like foxes and wolves is fascinating for us.
Best wishes to you. Katherine
So glad you like the story, Katherine! I know many Irish who emigrated to Australia, but only one girl who emigrated from Australia:) How did it happen that your sister has moved to Ireland? She must be married with an Irishman?
Hope that you have more good moments than bad moments and keep doing your blog. You are amazing! I know that your example inspires the others who suffer and struggle. You deserve any possible award ever.
My best wishes and thought to you!
One fantastic man with fantastic animals. i LOVE this
He truly is. Thank you for commenting!:)
Great gallery of photos, dear Inese.
You did a great job over here. 😀
Also thanks for linking to my blog, as regard to your newest award and congratulations on it.
Best wishes, happy weekend ahead to you,
So glad you like the post 🙂 Thank you for the nomination again, enjoy your weekend! Inese
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