Of all the things you could imagine finding in your garden, Puggle has got to be one of the cutest. This little abandoned fox cub was discovered scared and alone, but all of that soon changed. In fact, he got a friend that he couldn’t wait to hug, and it’s adorable.
On March 15, 2015, a family in London, U.K., were lucky enough to stumble across a baby fox in their yard. Finding such a cutie was not only a stroke of fortune for his discoverers, but it was also serendipitous for the cub.
The baby fox had been abandoned, or so it would seem, and he wasn’t very old. In fact, he was estimated to be around two weeks of age. He had no mother to supply his nourishing milk and was suffering as a result.
Consequently, the family called the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA). In order to get the cub to the proper authorities, though, the RSPCA contacted the National Fox Welfare Society (NFWS). As fox specialists, the NFWS was happy to take the cub in.
It was also the NFWS who named the fox cub Puggle, and its staff took on responsibility for his care. It’s not apparent how long the baby was alone before he was discovered, but it’s unlikely that he would have been able to survive by himself.
In any case, he was now in good hands. According to a spokesperson for the NFWS, Puggle flourished under the attention of his carers. “When Puggle first came in he would […] just fall asleep in your hands after having his meal,” the representative explained to The Dodo in 2016.
“So it was just a case of eat, toilet [and] sleep, every four hours,” the spokesperson continued. To that end, Puggle needed round-the-clock care. So he was placed with a temporary foster couple called Shane and Carolyn.
Although the end goal was to rehabilitate Puggle into the wild, it would be a while before that was possible. Meanwhile, his foster humans made sure that he got everything a little fox cub could need. But even so, they had trouble weaning him.
“[Puggle is] still on the bottle despite being offered liquidized dog food with puppy milk,” an NFWS Facebook update informed. “But I am happy to provide the bottle every four hours until Puggle eventually refuses it. He is growing really well and his character is starting to show.”
But since Puggle became all sleepy shortly after feeding time, it was the ideal photo opportunity. “Most of the photos I have taken of Puggle [were] after he [had] eaten. And after he had his mad ten minutes,” his carers explained over social media.
“[It] led a few to believe that little Puggle [had] very sad eyes and must be sad,” they said. By all accounts, though, nothing could have been further from the truth, especially when Puggle met his best friend. After all, until he could meet with other cubs, the little fox needed some company.
Martin Hemmington, NFWS director, told the SWNS news group about his method for keeping baby foxes from becoming lonely. “When foxes come in a group, they’ve got each other for company,” he said in 2016. But Puggle had been found all alone.
Hemmington continued, “I give them a teddy, a hot water bottle and a clock, which is like [the] heartbeat of their mom.” It was the first of these items that Puggle went crazy for. And it was the cub’s love for his snuggle buddy that shot Puggle to internet stardom.
Or perhaps that should be snuggle bunny! Puggle’s new playmate was a large stuffed rabbit, and he couldn’t get enough of it. Bunny was there for the cub no matter what mood he was in, and he was always available for an energetic young fox’s playtime.
Bunny was not just a companion for Puggle; he was a constant presence. He seemingly provided comfort for the cub as well as being a playmate. Sure, they sometimes had their disagreements, but they always made up in the end, and Bunny never took anything to heart.
Not even when Puggle would get a little over-excited with his best friend. “One minute he’ll cuddle up to it, then he’ll go to the toilet on it,” Hemmington explained. “The next minute he’s throwing it around and playing with it; our washing machine has been in overdrive.”
According to Bored Panda, NFWS described Puggle’s relationship with Bunny as “love-hate.” And since the cub was a growing boy, he did have a few mood swings. Bunny was there regardless, however, to guide the fox into becoming a fully functioning adult.
Inevitably, the internet noticed the adorable bond Puggle had with Bunny, and the cute couple proved too much to resist. “This little chap is such a show stopper! I just adore him,” a fox fan wrote on Facebook. “[I] just love Puggle, I am totally smitten,” said another.
But as much as Puggle loved Bunny, they would have to part eventually. The cub was quickly becoming a young fox, and the NFWS were preparing him for release. Puggle was introduced to others like him, and the wild, steadily. His parting with Bunny was drawing near.
Puggle was scheduled for release in the summer of 2015, when he said his last goodbyes to Bunny. No doubt his farewell to the NFWS was bittersweet too. However, thanks to his carers, Puggle was prepared to experience the life he was always meant to lead.