Some years ago a fox wandered into my garden, and although he was a wild animal in a suburban area we gradually learned to trust each other.
Over time he found a little spot in my heart which had been reserved for my dogs, now departed over the rainbow bridge. From the thirty odd years I have lived in this house, Pacer, and then Mij, had ensured it was never without a canine presence. Now I wasn’t up to the walkies another dog would need, so adding some chicken wings to the weekly shop was an easy answer.
At first Cheeky kept his distance, snatched his dinner, complained if it was late, and never said thank you, but eventually we came to a greater understanding. Inch by inch and day by day the trust grew, until instead of grabbing the chicken and rushing off, he began watching and accepting me.
The pleasure he gave with his antics ensured forgiveness when he adopted the leather conservatory chairs for his afternoon snooze, even if they still bear the scars from his claws where he curled up to make himself comfortable.
Eventually he would take titbits from my hand, and if you thought dogs and toddlers were hard work, try remembering to close the garden doors every time you leave the room, especially in the summer.
I wouldn’t have minded so much if he at least appreciated my writing skills, and didn’t turn his nose up at my bookcase. From his expression, I’m not sure if his review on Amazon of my first published book would have been a 5*. Perhaps it was as well he didn’t have his own account, if the chicken wasn’t as fresh as he would have liked.
We shared company for a few years and I watched him change from a young pup into a healthy adult, and finally an old man with a mangy tail. R.I.P Cheeky.
Before his demise I would follow his exploits with the ladies, and although I’m not certain, believe that Chico was his son, and Dad had passed on information about the best restaurants in town, and a soft touch for an easy meal.
Chico seemed to be more interested in the writing process rather than reading, and I would often look up from being engrossed at the desk in my office to find him standing next to me, watching. Although I wasn’t invited to the wedding, I heard his amorous exploits in the early hours of the morning, and had the honour of being introduced to his wife Rosie. She was a little more skittish and not so quick to trust, but the supermarket chicken order doubled to accommodate them both.
My Netball training came in handy as I needed to ensure one piece was near the door for Chico to pick up, and another was thrown further away so Rosie had her share. The one time they both went for the same portion she showed him who was boss. Go Rosie!
I was surprised to learn foxes can live to around twelve years, although the life expectancy in urban areas is normally only two or three years, often because of car accidents. Although they are mainly nocturnal, I often saw them mid afternoon and even sitting outside just before the morning rush hour.
If you’ve never heard a fox scream, be warned; they can sound like a baby crying, and it’s even worse during the mating season, when the vixen will show her satisfaction or otherwise, when they are doing what comes naturally. Barks and screams are also a warning sign for others to keep off their territory, or as a means of communication.
Without sounding too perverted, I was highly amused once when I looked out the bedroom window in the early hours of the morning. Mr Fox was sitting in the middle of the road doing nothing in particular when Ms Fox went up to him, waved her scent around and then took off running and hiding under the parked cars. He started to give chase, but perhaps he wasn’t in the mood as he quickly gave up and resumed his previous spot. She came back, tried again to entice him with her feminine wiles, and the performance was repeated several times until she gave up in disgust.
Rosie and Chico stuck around for some years, but they were fairly mature when I went on holiday for a couple of weeks, and when I returned, they had either passed over the rainbow bridge or found a better dining area.
For a few months the local neighbourhood cats roamed around the garden at will, until the sound of teenagers squabbling signalled the return of some new chicken eaters. These looked to be young and skinny, and I decided they were brother and sister. Before long a slightly older one joined them, perhaps a half-sibling, or maybe just a neighbour muscling in on the act.
Unlike the older generation the young foxes were like greased lightning. Put down some chicken and before you could blink it was gone. I began to imagine they were ghosts until they gradually recognised me, and would give me a quick look before disappearing over the fence with their prize. No photos yet but it’s early days, and they make their presence known around 8.30 every evening in case I forget it’s feeding time. The supermarket must think I live on cheap chicken wings.
I was surprised how many of my author friends have a writing companion. Most seem to be cats, a few dogs, or the occasional dragon and I have my unicorn and tiger, but I bet there aren’t many others who have foxes. Anyone else have an unusual assistant?
I hope you’ve enjoyed this slightly different blog post. I’m experimenting to try to broaden the reach, so any suggestions are always welcome. Thanks for dropping by. 😀
© Voinks August 2020