People Believe They’re Rescuing A Puppy, But Things Aren’t As They Seem
After numerous incidents throughout the night, the men were entirely exhausted. The tiny puppies fit almost perfectly in the palm of their hands. They shivered with the cold as the firefighters wiped their eyes with a wet cloth. They placed one puppy after another inside the cardboard box lined with a blanket.
The tiny black creatures howled and wailed as they dragged themselves across the blanket in search of their siblings. That’s when they noticed something odd.
Firefighters have a grueling job. Before risking their lives on a daily basis, they must pass multiple tests. Written exams consist of around 100 multiple choice questions based on reasoning and logic, spatial awareness, and memory.
A physical ability test follows, involving challenges like climbing stairs at a rapid pace while carrying 200 pounds. The high-risk job comes with its complications. But there are some calls that give them a nice break from life-threatening accidents.
Firemen are used to an array of call-outs. From accidents to wildfires to trapped animals, those who dedicate their lives to the force have seen it all. They’ve rescued the innocent and saved the vulnerable. But that doesn’t make the tough bits of their job any easier.
The squad fit fire alarms in homes to ensure safety for the community. But there are always incidents that manage to surprise these firefighters.
The firefighters have saved animals from every situation—up trees, on roofs, under buildings, between pipes. Their list of rescues includes fish, cats, turtles, dogs, parrots, pigeons, rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, and budgies. The Colorado Spring Firefighters have become local heroes of both the community and their beloved pets.
However, not all animals are lucky enough to have owners to look after them.
When the Colorado Spring Firefighters received a call from worried civilians about puppies who had fallen down a storm drain, they were quick to arrive at the scene. Meters away, their squeals and cries were audible.
The men got down on their hands and knees to locate the small dark balls of fur. A crowd gathered around them to witness their skills. The young were vulnerable to predators. Time was against them.
Half the team searched for the critter’s mother as the other fished the puppies from the drain. Some cried. Others were silent. Fire Captain Brian Vaughan explained how nearly all squirmed as they were removed from their siblings and placed on a fresh towel in a cardboard box.
All were dark as soot, skinny, and very underweight. They shuffled to one another for warmth and comfort. Then, the firefighters grew weary.
The onlookers were delighted by the firefighter’s rescue, concluding the pups to be black labradors. Like regular pups, these critters seemed blind and deaf. They didn’t respond to noise and their eyes were continually shut, but these seemed smaller than usual.
Their heads seemed too big for their slim bodies, and their tails were extra-long. Then, they noticed one lying still in the corner, alone.
Brian held the small creature in his warm hands before cleaning its face with a damp cloth. A fear grew. Had these pups been dumped? Were they victims? Had their mother been hurt, or worse? He had seen too many instances of mistreatment.
He hated Halloween due to the injuries that occurred to animals throughout the night. Did these innocent animals experience a similar fate?
It took twenty minutes for the squad to retrieve all nine puppies from the drain. The community and the Colorado Spring firefighters were delighted with another successful rescue mission. They loaded the orphans onboard and made their way to the Humane Society of the Pikes and Peak Region.
Throughout the years, the animal welfare group has been a haven for homeless and mistreated animals in South Carolina. Firefighters were regular visitors, but these critters weren’t.
Could It Be?
The young creatures were cold, hungry, dirty, and tired when they arrived at the Humane Society. Before getting settled into a dry bed for the night, they gave each puppy a quick check-up.
They were just a few weeks old and frightened. Their hair was black and short. Then, they realized that these animals weren’t puppies at all!
‘No, these aren’t Labradors, these are foxes,’” Brian Vaughan shared. When fox cubs are disturbed, mothers flee their side and monitors them from a distance. She keeps a close eye on her litter from afar and only returns when it is safe to do so.
Chances are, the mother of these cubs was lurking close by when they were spotted by people passing by. She waited patiently for the crowd to disperse for the chance to move her kin. But when a crowd began to grow, she feared to return.
Although amazed by the true identity of their rescuees, the firefighters were relieved that the cubs were not victims of mistreatment. They had seen enough injured animals in the past to last them a lifetime.
They returned to the scene to search for their mother. However, she was nowhere to be found. Luckily, Colorado Springs were no strangers to foxes.
Located at the bottom of the Rocky Mountain, the wildlife of Colorado Springs varies. The locals are familiar with foxes, spotting the primarily nocturnal animals on the outskirts of the city late at night.
When temperatures dip in Winter, they move closer to homes and buildings, scavenging bins for extra provisions. But few have seen a littler of cubs, including the firefighters. They couldn’t believe their luck.
“This time of year, there are a lot of animals that are starting to have their young,” Travis Sauder, a manager from Colorado Parks and Wildlife District Wildlife, shared his wildlife expertise. “[Mothers] have [their young] in small dens that are places that we can encounter when we’re recreating in the outdoors like we like to do.”
But what would become of these cubs?
After an unsuccessful attempt to reunite the cubs with the mother, they are now being watched by the dedicated vets of the Humane Society. The center’s co-founder, Terri Collins, explained their plans to rehabilitate the young cubs at the Animal Clinic of Woodland Park.
“We hope to be able to rescue all of them,” he shared. Let’s hope these critters make it back home to their family after their rocky start.
The Animal Clinic, fortunately, had another rescue fox who had just been brought in the week before. They tried to integrate a few of her pups into the litter but the weary mother would not accept them. The vets tried their best but knew that they had to give these pups some extra tender loving care on their own.
They continued to feed the pups a special milk formula. It is very similar to the ones used for abandoned kitties and puppies. The tiny fox pups took well to the formula and started to pick up in size and weight.
A Sign Of Hope
A few days later the tiny babies started showing more energy. Their tiny eyes opened for the first time. The vets knew that they were now finally out of harm’s way.
Their rehabilitation was touch and go and although they were out of the woods, there was still a lot of work to do before the vets could put them back in the woods. Perhaps it would be sooner than they thought.
Out Of Danger
The fox puppies were showing great signs of improvement. After a few more days of observation and monitoring, they were strong enough to be released from incubation. The animal clinics caretakers cleared a special room for the puppies and ensured it was safe for their growth.
When the vets moved the puppies they noticed that they were looking more like foxes now and less like puppies. It wouldn’t be too long before they would be able to eat solid food.
Over the next few days, the vets gave special instructions to the caretakers about how to care for the fox puppies. They had to ensure that their food was given at the exact time every day to ensure steady muscle growth.
The vets were happy with the growth of the pups. Now that they started walking around, they were interacting with their environment. Was their little room going to be big enough for them to play in?
The Animal Clinic
The Animal Clinic in Colorado has been in existence for over 25 years. They have a stellar reputation in the community. The clinic is also renowned for being voted the best veterinarian and animal hospital for the past 4 years running.
Terri Collins has been a partner in the practice with Dr. Volz since 2005. A graduate of Bel-Rea Institute of Veterinary Technology in Denver, she is the practice manager and a technician at The Animal Clinic. She is also a state and federally-licensed wildlife rehabilitator.
As the foxes grew they were becoming faster and more sly. They would play games with the caretaker at mealtime and hide when it was time for their checkups. Although they were now only a month old, they had learned about humans and were keen to interact.
Seeing the fast growth of the foxes prompted the vets to reconsider their boarding facilities. They were going to have to move them out of the room and onto the open. These fox pups needed to play outside.
Most baby animals require approximately 6 weeks to be weaned off the mother. Since these fox pups were accustomed to bottle drinking (they were not raised by their mother’s milk), it was possible that they matured faster. At only 4 weeks old, they were already enjoying the solid porridge which was now their breakfast meal.
They were making quite a mess in the small room. The cute puppies were also just discovering their voices. Their tiny shrill yelps could be heard down the building corridor. They required a larger space to play and a larger litter box too!
A Pen Outside
It was a warm sunny day when the animal clinic staff prepared to move the baby foxes. They had cleaned and secured a large playpen outdoors. Thankfully, due to regular donations and sponsors, they were able to find the funds to make the space a little fox friendly.
The vets ensured that the space was protected from the elements. They cut the grass and loosened the soil, as foxes are known to burrow. They are sly creatures to like to hide and move very fast when it’s time to hunt or escape!
Like a Real Home
The fox cubs were delighted with their new home. The vets invited a few special sponsors to attend the move. The onlookers took videos of the happy foxes jumping, running, and scurrying about. They were smelling everything and running in and out of their new kennels.
Foxes are known to be funny creatures and today they didn’t disappoint. The fox commotion amused everyone tremendously as they got selfies with the foxes doing funny things in the background.
Our Service Complete
Photographs had been going viral online. The new fox playpen brought many children and visitors to the animal clinic. Even people who had visited before, made another special visit just to see the fox cubs playing. Since they are shy creatures, one rarely gets to see them in their natural habitat or when they are young.
Many people knew this which is why they took the time to come out and see the furry foxes. The clinic managed to raise a lot of money from entry donations. Feeding hungry animals is an expensive and full-time job.
Ready For The Real World
After a busy week with the media and press, the vets started noticing a difference in the foxes’ behavior. They were growing up. Although they were still babies, they were getting more in touch with their instincts and it was starting to show.
They started ripping blankets, biting toys, and digging holes everywhere. The once beautifully renovated playpen now looked like a pig sty. The vets knew what it was time for, even though they didn’t want to.
Back To Wildlife
The vets started making arrangements to secure and transport the foxes back into the wild. There were a few things they had to ascertain before doing so. First, they had to find the best location, and then they had to monitor the foxes over a period of time to check if the integration went well.
The vets knew that they had more work cut out for them. The caretakers prepared the gear and packed backpacks, it was time for a road trip. Destination- Fox Burrow
The Perfect Spot
The vets packed up their 4x4s and headed up toward the Colorado National Park. They were going to find a place that was quiet and safe for the little babies to grow. The drive was long and tiring but part of the job was traveling to rough terrain.
As they drove, they passed an area that had black grass. What was that? Terris asked as she looked back out her window onto the shadow land. “It looks as though this part of the woods was devoured by wildfires.” her vet friend responded.
Not So Safe Nature
Terris let out a small scream. She had forgotten about the problem Colorado had with wildfires, especially during the dry, windy season. Can you imagine what would happen to those innocent babies if we left them here alone? she said aloud “I shudder to think.”
The vets agreed with her. They pulled over on the side of the dirt road to take a break and eat some lunch. As they ate, they looked over the woodland plains, half was bright green, lush, and dense, and the other was dark, barren, and burnt. Is it a good idea to leave the cubs here after all?
The vets walked around the spot for a while. They took in the smells and sounds of the infamous Colorado Woodland Forest. Was this place going to be the new home of the fox cubs? With wildfires on the rise, poor creatures, like foxes, are forced out of their homes. They try to find refuge in the city but man’s inventions lead them into worse situations.
The events decided to head back home. They had become attached to the cubs and there was no reason that they had to rush the natural rehabilitation just yet. Perhaps something would come up so that the cubs could stay at the animal clinic for a little while longer.
In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead are entirely coincidental