For those who are reading the fox story for the first time – here are two links to my previous posts – Kindness and Fox News.
This spring, I got a word that Minnie, the six-years old vixen, was pregnant. The only “suspect” was a two-year old male fox Henry, badly mauled by dogs in his early days and restored to health in Pat’s care. Being very busy at that time, I didn’t come over to greet the cub and take pictures. I feel sad about that – I don’t think I will have another chance. Now the cub is gone. Pat has too much on his hands to accommodate one more fox, and a lady from Kilkenny was happy to give the little foxy a family and a little kit for a sibling to grow together. I only hope for an interview in near future.
I didn’t take pictures of Henry. He was in a bad mood, and we left him in his pen. I only can tell that he looks very grown up, and his injured eye is not as teary as it was last year.
I have got a new “fox picture”, this time with Minnie.
Grainne and Minnie are full of character, and are visually different.
Minnie is not angry in these photographs, or upset in any way. She is just being herself, playing and watching if your attention is still on her 🙂 As you know from my previous post, Minnie doesn’t like walking and prefers being carried and cuddled, and talked to all the time. I think I performed all these tasks very well, and she expected me to carry on, but Patsy thought different and Minnie had to walk to the den on her own feet.
After the photo session, we all went to the garden. The weather improved, a lovely change. All the creatures of the house joined us, and I was amazed with their friendliness and good humor: even a huge rooster didn’t mind to be photographed. Cats, chickens, dog Blackie – all of them relaxed and at ease with the strangers.
And of course we talked about foxes, how important they are to the environment. Their diet consists mostly of rats and mice; if they steal a chicken it only means that the chickens were not locked properly. Wild fox killed his ducks yet Pat doesn’t blame the fox but the hole in the fencing. While opposing the fox hunting, Pat doesn’t encourage people to take a fox cub home if it has been found alone. The cub is not abandoned. Foxes belong to the wild and they will survive in the wild. Pat wishes people would just leave them alone.
We were invited for a cup of tea. Pat’s brother showed us a photograph of their parents. Calm, intelligent, beautiful faces. They have raised their eleven children well.
As I have learned, Pat is famous not only because of his foxes. While attending a hurling game, he was spotted and taken a picture of for Kilkenny People newspaper. What has drawn the photographer’s attention? A hat. Pat’s sister is knitting these hats for the match goers, in county colors. Amber and black – Kilkenny colors. I asked Pat if he had another hat for a photograph, and he brought me a Red and White, a Cork one… Didn’t feel comfortable in it… 😉 I should have replaced the colors in Photoshop… 😉
On our way back home we took a few pictures in Thomastown.
A French tourism-oriented website recently posted a story about Pat and his foxes, and asked if they could use my photographs. I am delighted that more people will learn about this wonderful man and his beloved pets. They are already known in England, Scotland, and New Zealand, thanks to Grainne who is kind of a movie star, since she has several film and tourism commercial credits.
I hope you enjoyed the day with Pat Gibbons, and will visit with him in person on your next trip to Ireland.
Have a great week!