Craig Mcgettrick and his coworker were clearing waste out of a garden when they stumbled upon an old mattress with a hidden surprise – a litter of tiny puppies. After further inspection, Mcgettrick actually wasn’t quite sure if they were puppies or kittens, as they were newborn and just brown fuzzy creatures with their eyes still closed. “Those were probably the only two options I knew of,” Mcgettrick told The Dodo. “We thought someone had dumped them knowing we were going to remove rubbish.”
Hoping to help the puppies, he boxed them up and took them to a local rescue center. Of course, no fun would be had without posting photos of the adorable pups on Facebook, so he did that as well. These photos eventually made their way over to Martin Hemmington, founder of the National Fox Welfare Society. A supported named Beccie had seen the photos and guessed that these puppies weren’t puppies at all – but fox cubs. “”We confirmed they certainly were. Beccie advised us that they had been taken to a rescue center in Liverpool mistakenly as puppies, not fox cubs,” Hemmington wrote on Facebook.
Another local rescuer, Paul McDonald (also known as The Fox Man), noted that fox cubs are brown in color and therefore are often mistaken to be puppies when they’re found. He says the mother was likely using the mattress as a den. Hemmington was able to get in touch with McDonald and asked if he could pick the cubs up from the rescue they were left at, but McDonald was out of the area at the time. He still managed to get a volunteer to pick them up and bring them to him. McDonald then did what he felt was best – attempted to return the cubs to their likely frantic mother. “I didn’t give the cubs any milk in order for them to be hungry so they’d cry out and call for their mum, which they did,” McDonald said. “I put them around the same place they were found, as I knew the mum would be looking for them, and she’d be checking the place she last had them.”
He simply placed the cardboard box in the same area the cubs were found in and left them alone, watching from afar. Sure enough, the mother returned about an hour later and took one of the cubs with her. “I believe once she’d picked the first one up and knew the others were safe in the box, she waited until it got dark to get the rest as she must not have felt safe moving the cubs in daylight,” McDonald said. She eventually returned and all of the cubs were taken into her care within the next three hours. McDonald was keeping Hemmington updated, who in turn was keeping Beccie and Mcgettrick updated.
Needless to say, everyone is thrilled that the cubs are back with their mother. “It made me feel ecstatic that the cubs went back to their mum, as it would have been a tragedy not only for the cubs not being brought up by their own mother, but for the mother to lose her cubs,” McDonald said. “This is without a doubt the best kind of rescue in my line of work, when nature is allowed to take its own course.”