Beau Ouimette is used to finding rare treasures. After all, the jewel hunter and metal detector enthusiast has found all kinds of swag, including civil war relics, a GoPro camera and silver coins. However, he never imaged that he’d discover something quite so cute as this on one of his hunts.
In April 2014 Ouimette and his wife were out hunting for gems. And while wading through an empty field in West Virginia, they stumbled on something they weren’t expecting. Yes, there in the middle of the land was a tiny, abandoned animal.
Plus, it was clear to see that something had injured the little ball of fluff. In fact, the animal had a nasty laceration on its neck that was covered in dried blood. Fortunately, the Ouimettes knew they had to do something.
So while Beau filmed the encounter, his wife, a veterinarian, said they needed to take the animal home to care for it. “All right little buddy, we’re gunna gather you up,” the metal detector enthusiast said. Of course, though, there is a danger in handling wildlife.
“[The animal] was severely dehydrated, weak and had a bloody wound to its neck,” Ouimette wrote in the rescue video description. “My wife is a veterinarian, and we both are vaccinated against rabies. Do not attempt this if rabies is present in the area you live. If you get bitten by a rabid animal and are not treated, you will die.”
The caring couple reckoned their new buddy was around one month old and not yet weaned. So with no time to lose, Ouimette wrapped the little critter in a jacket and took it home. Later, inside their house, the couple gave the young animal some milk, which it lapped up happily.
Over the course of the next few days, the pair then continued to nurse the animal back to health. They also discovered that this was a female baby fox that they had on their hands. Still, it was perhaps less of a surprise to discover that the little gal had quickly stolen their hearts.
After three days, then, the kit was looking much better. The Ouimettes had kept her fed, watered and housed in a large cage. They even left her a little tray and began to talk to her like you would a cat or a dog. Plus, when they handled her, they used a puppet – as these help to keep wild animals from imprinting directly on human hands.
The couple would also take the fox out to the garden to explore. After all, she was a wild animal. But the first time that the Ouimettes did this, the traumatized little fox shivered in fear. Clearly, then, the young pup needed more recovery time.
So the dedicated duo continued to feed the fox and to give her antibiotics to stop something from infecting her neck wound. After five days, then, the animal’s energy had improved immensely, and she’d also put on some weight. Therefore, the Ouimettes decided it was time to say goodbye to their new friend.
So with a heavy heart, the couple bundled the fox into a carry cage and took her to the Blue Ridge Wildlife Center. There, they checked her in before sharing an emotional goodbye. “See you around little buddy,” Beau whispered.
Of course, the wildlife center knew exactly what the young fox needed for rehabilitation back to the wild. At the end of one of Beau’s videos, he wrote, “Special thanks to the Blue Ridge Wildlife Center for helping those creatures in need.” Indeed, the center specializes in looking after native West Virginian wildlife.
Beau mainly uses his YouTube channel to share what he finds during his metal detecting expeditions. But it was his videos about the tiny fox that really captured people’s hearts. In fact, each video has been viewed over one million times, and collectively they’ve received more than 3,000 comments.
“I hope she gets the same amount of affection in that center? Could you please let us know what exactly will happen to her there? Thank you for rescuing her, she’s lovely,” wrote one commenter.
“People that help animals like this make me feel better about the human race,” another added. “Thanks so much for caring for this little girl. It would have broken my heart to give up that sweet thing especially [after] she had learned to trust you but it was for the best,” wrote one more.
In the care of the wildlife center, then, the baby fox was well on her way to making a full recovery. In fact, the wounds on her neck healed, and she was given medicine for intestinal parasites. By all accounts, the young fox was thriving in her new environment.
She even had some playmates to hang out with at the center; three other kits were being rehabilitated at well. “When they were eight weeks old they were moved to an outside cage, where they had more room to play and less exposure to people,” Dr. Belinda Burwell, the center’s director, told the Huffington Post.
“One of our goals is to be sure these foxes retain their natural fear of humans and do not become tame,” she continued. “At five months of age they were moved to a release site in a secluded area where we continued to offer them food while they learned to find food in their environment.”
Thanks to a remote-controlled camera at the release site, the center was able to continue to monitor the young foxes. And just a month after their release, the vets were pleased with what they saw. Apparently, all four of the kits were getting on great.
Thanks to the expert care from Beau’s wife and the veterinarians at Blue Ridge Wildlife Center, the little fox got a lucky break. After narrowly surviving an attack, she had rescuers with the training and expertise to get her back on track. And she made some new foxy friends that will last a lifetime.