Thomastown

Hello from the Foxes

Grainne the Fox

As I was driving through Thomastown last month, I thought I could stop by at Pat Gibbons’ house and get the latest updates. Those who don’t know Pat The Fox Man, can read his story here. This story has been copied and pasted so many times that I gave up being annoyed.

Fortunately, Pat was home, we spent a few minutes visiting and went to the fox pen. It was about 4 pm, one hour before the foxes are let inside for the evening, and I didn’t want to make them upset by dragging them out for a picture. Minnie was already whining, overreacting like the drama queen she is. Nothing is ever right for poor Minnie ūüôā

Minnie the Fox

It took a lot of flattering ( ‘who’s a good girl?’) and a prolonged shoulder massage to get her to lift her ‘ cheerful’ face to me for a picture. Not that I am complaining here. Minnie is all soft and lovely, and it is only a pleasure petting her thick silky fur.

Minnie the Fox

Divas are allowed to have a bad day. When she is ready, you behold a star ūüôā

Pat and his foxes

Two years ago Minnie got pregnant by Henry. Pat was not in condition to care for another fox, and a woman from Kilkenny adopted the kit. I asked Pat how was the little fox doing. Visibly saddened by the question Pat said that the kit has died. He recons it was something about food. Fox is neither a dog nor a cat. Pat gives them chicken legs and beef mince, but they also have ‘extras’ like snails, worms, wild berries.

Pat speaks about commitment and dedication one must have if they plan on keeping a rescued fox. Foxes are creatures of habit and they need their routine. Every day at 5 pm Pat brings them into the house, and it has to be 5pm, sharp.

Recently their friend, the old dog Blackie, was hit by car and died. Pat got a new pup, this time a snow white one, but the foxes don’t mind the color ūüôā The pup is very playful which is just fine with the foxes.

Pat Gibbons

Henry wasn’t in a good mood and run away from us to his enclosure. A couple of month ago he bit Pat’s hand. As Pat explains, he was picking him up and accidentally pressed on his bad paw. It was just a reaction, and Henry himself was probably terrified, as he is so gentle and sweet. Pat got blood poisoning and had to spent 6 days in the hospital. No hard feelings though. Henry got 60 stitches on his head and body when he was mauled by dogs, Pat explains. He must have very sore paw as his leg never straightened out. The dogs badly mauled his jaw and his left eye.

Henry the fox

Beautiful Grainne sits in her favorite corner. Each fox has their favorite place in the pen. She is about 12, and has a lot of silver in her fur, but she is still playful, and performs her usual tricks on demand.

Grainne the Fox

Grainne the Fox

Good girl!

Grainne the Fox

This is an old picture I took of Grainne and Minnie.

Pat and his foxes

Pat often takes them out to Thomastown. Foxes walk on a leash and stop to let people pet them. Meanwhile, Pat shares his thoughts on the wild life preservation. The foxes sometimes get invited to schools. Recently they got a shop opening ceremony invitation.

After leaving the fox pen we talk for another few minutes, and hiding behind the grass, I take some pictures of Pat’s gorgeous chickens.

rooster

rooster

hen

hen

hen

hen

hen

hen

The puppy cannot wait for me to start my car – it will be the highlight of his day ūüôā Thankfully, he doesn’t jump on the road.

I hope to see them all in December.

Pat Gibbons

My other blog posts about Pat and his foxes:

https://inesemjphotography.com/2015/08/04/all-creatures/

https://inesemjphotography.com/2014/04/06/kindness/

https://inesemjphotography.com/2017/01/27/pat-and-his-foxes/

 

www.inesemjphotography.com Have a fantastic weekend!

All creatures

pat_gibbons

For those who are reading the fox story for the first time Рhere are two links to my previous posts РKindness 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 yearly 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.

fox

Grainne and Minnie are full of character, and are visually different.

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pat_gibbons

fox1 170

fox1 189

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 ūüôā¬† 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.

pat_gibbons

pat_gibbons

 

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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.

chicken

rooster

chicken

grumpy_chicken

dog

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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… ūüėČ ¬†I should have¬†replaced the colors in Photoshop… ūüėČ

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On our way back home we took a few pictures in Thomastown.

thomastown

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!

Thomastown FOX NEWS

Pat Gibbons foxes

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 .

Pat Gibbons foxes

Pat Gibbons foxes

Pat Gibbons foxes

This is Gr√°inne. 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: Gr√°inne.

Pat Gibbons foxes

Pat Gibbons foxes

Pat Gibbons foxes

Average life span of a wild fox is 2-3 years although a fox can live 10 years. Gr√°inne 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. ¬†Gr√°inne 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.

Pat Gibbons foxes

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.

Pat Gibbons foxes

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”.

Pat Gibbons foxes

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.

Pat Gibbons foxes

“You all right, son?” Patsy would ask and hug his little¬†boy.

Pat Gibbons foxes

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 ūüôā

Pat Gibbons foxes

Minnie actually needs some extra exercises for her good, but she stalls and refuses to walk.

Pat Gibbons foxes

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.

Pat Gibbons foxes

Minnie gets her way.

Pat Gibbons foxes

Pat Gibbons foxes

Patsy is getting his girls ready for the portrait:)

Pat Gibbons foxes

Look at Minnie’s face:) Drama in progress.

Pat Gibbons foxes

Patsy has a kind heart and angelic patience. Minnie is getting all his attention:)

Pat Gibbons foxes

Pat Gibbons foxes

Pat Gibbons foxes

Pat Gibbons foxes

Pat Gibbons foxes

We had a good chat,¬†but look at¬†Minnie’s eyes¬†ūüôā Her face 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.

inese_mj_photographyHave a great weekend!