When construction workers discovered a muddy puppy stranded at the bottom of a hole in London, England, they knew that they were its only hope of rescue. Downing tools, they did everything they could to rescue the doggy in distress. However, when the creature’s matted fur had been washed, they got an exceedingly cute surprise.
What initially seemed to be a young dog was eventually transported to South Essex Wildlife Hospital, a registered animal charity in the English county of Essex, near London. Sue Schwar founded the organization in 1995.
In those early days, in fact, it became the first wildlife rescue center of its kind in the region. Today, meanwhile, it’s a refuge for the care and rehabilitation of wildlife native to the area, including mammals, birds and even reptiles.
At first, Schwar ran the hospital from her home. However, due to demand, she had to find a bigger, more appropriate setting. As a result, the number of animals that she and the hospital can accommodate has risen to more than 200 at any one time.
Now, veterinary staff are able to deal with each animal that comes through the hospital’s doors. In fact, not a single one is denied treatment if it is needed. Indeed, a team of volunteers and professional vets work tirelessly to ensure that every critter receives the utmost care.
What’s more, the charity covers a large swathe of southern England, including some parts of London. And people often find animals in the most extraordinary of locations throughout the region. One such discovery came in 2012.
Intriguingly, this time it wasn’t the most obvious place for a young animal to be hiding. That’s because the discovery was made at Canary Wharf, a section of London dominated by businesses and iconic skyscrapers. And given the almost continual construction developments, the area certainly is not synonymous with wildlife.
So, when construction workers build at sites in the locale, they rarely have to be mindful of disturbing animals. For example, on one day in spring 2012, a group of builders were digging away at a site in the area without a second thought to what they might discover.
However, they then stumbled upon something strange. A worker had heard cries coming from a hole on the construction site, and upon further investigation he spotted a lump at the bottom.
Moreover, the builders soon realized that, alarmingly, the mound was moving. In fact, after a closer look, they could make out what they thought was the shape of a puppy.
As a result, the team dropped their tools and hatched a plan to rescue the stricken animal. Plastic and mud caked the hole, so they needed to be careful if they were going to get the creature out unscathed. Furthermore, they had no idea how long the puppy had been down there. Time, then, was of the essence.
Delicately, but as quickly as they could, the builders lifted the animal from the hole. When they got it onto solid ground, though, they couldn’t tell what kind of creature they had found. Yes, it was so coated in mud that all of its features had been obscured.
Indeed, most of the mud had dried solid, with a thick, hard shell coating the poor animal’s fur. As a result, the workers had no idea if it was in pain; all they knew was that it needed specialist care and quickly.
That’s when the builders transported the creature to South Essex Wildlife Hospital. It was only there that they discovered the hapless animal wasn’t a puppy after all. They had, in fact, found a four-month-old red fox.
According to an estimate published by The Guardian in 2017, there are around 150,000 urban foxes living in the U.K. Perhaps as a result, wildlife hospitals – such as the one in Essex – are used to dealing with the animals. And with such experience on offer, the little kit the construction workers had rescued was in the best possible hands.
For duty vets at the hospital, removing the fox’s thick coat of mud was a priority, so they gave the animal a long scrub down in the bath. Soon his distinctive red fur was spotless once more, and the staff could then concentrate on getting him fighting fit. They also gave him a very appropriate name: “Muddsey.”
Sue Schwar was just relieved that the animal had come to them when he had. According to his builder rescuers, Muddsey had no way of exiting the hole unaided. As a result, she credited them with saving the fox’s young life.
“It would certainly have had a pretty awful death if it hadn’t been found,” she told the Daily Mail in 2012. “It was very cold and in shock, but is fine now. We felt very sorry for him because he was completely caked and was absolutely petrified.”
She added to the newspaper, “The builders were doing some ground work on the site and there were a couple of holes left open. None of us knew how long he had been down that hole. It could have been all weekend.”
And while the current whereabouts of Muddsey are unknown, hopefully he’s learned from his brush with danger. After all, a construction site is no place for a baby fox.
A building site is far from the strangest place in which a baby fox has been discovered, though. And a pair of Russian guys proved that they had big hearts when they came to the aid of a cub that was stuck in a pretty unusual position. But while the men may have saved the day, humans were actually responsible for the animal’s plight in the first place.
It seemed like an ordinary day for two Russian-speaking truckers as they drove along a deserted dirt track – but that was before they noticed a forlorn figure wandering around hopelessly at the side of the road. Concerned, then, they pulled their vehicle over to see if they could be of assistance.
The pair also had the presence of mind to film the incident, and in 2013 the clip emerged online – and has since touched the hearts of millions. The footage highlights the special relationship that can exist between humankind and wild animals and also holds a lesson that humanity should heed.
The footage begins after the truckers have pulled over – and we can probably assume that the dirt trail they found themselves on is in Russia, since both are conversing in the language of that country. Next, they climb down from their cab, surrounded by the silence of the wilderness, and then we see something in the distance.
As the men then approach what looks like an object at the side of the road, we realize that it is moving. It appears, in fact, to be a small or baby creature. Yet it is only when the camera moves closer to the animal that we can see something is terribly wrong.
The truckers appear to be Good Samaritans on a mission of wildlife mercy. Having pulled their vehicle over, they approach the critter slowly. Wild animals are usually cautious around humans, after all, and the men evidently don’t want to frighten the creature.
However, as the truckers get nearer to the animal, it begins to scurry to meet them. It’s as if the usually shy creature recognized that its situation was so bad that human help was its only chance. Indeed, it seems that the cautious critter was only too willing to put its trust in people on this occasion.
As the truckers then draw up to the animal, we can see that it is a baby fox – known as a kit – and also appreciate why it is so desperate. Yes, the poor creature’s head is completely wedged in a green glass jar – and it obviously has no way of escaping its see-through prison.
What isn’t clear, though, is how the jar first came to be stuck on the kit’s head. That said, it’s reasonable to speculate that the baby fox could smell food on the inside of the discarded glass container and then stuck its head in to investigate – only to realize too late that it couldn’t get it out again.
Kits usually stay with their mothers until they are about seven months old, and after that, they are ready to fend for themselves. However, their inexperience at this point in their maturity can often land them in tight spots – and few come tighter than having your head squeezed into a glass jar.
Luckily for this kit, two kindhearted people had found it in distress and were willing to help. The film subsequently shows one of the truckers attempting to yank the jar off the little fox’s head, but it proves to be on too tight. All that happens is the baby fox gets pulled, kicking and flailing, off the ground.
Then, after the initial attempt proves fruitless, a different method is tried. This time the kit is held firmly by the scruff of the neck with one hand, while another hand begins to heave the jar off the animal’s head.
Success! After a little struggle, the baby fox is finally freed. However, the kit doesn’t feel like sticking around to express its gratitude. Instead, we see it make a break for safety, and it runs off into the undergrowth beside the road.
The fox’s ungracious attitude seemingly doesn’t go down too well with its rescuers, either. “Where is the ‘thank you?’” we hear one of them joke in Russian as the kit makes its escape. However, deep down, the men were no doubt glad that they had been able to help the creature in need.
At the end of the day, if the truckers hadn’t bothered to stop and assist the baby fox, there is little doubt that it would have perished. After all, with its head encased in glass, the kit would have had no way of eating or drinking. And with its sight partially obscured, it would also have had difficulty seeing potential danger approaching.
So it was quite right that internet viewers of the clip hailed the men who helped the baby fox as heroes. Moreover, in a matter of days after the video was first shared online, more than 400,000 people had seen it. And since then, many hundreds of thousands more animal lovers have watched and shared the footage.
On one of the versions of the video on YouTube – which has attracted almost two million views – many commenters have expressed their gratitude to the men who came to the kit’s aid. “Thank you and bless you for saving him,” wrote one. “Poor baby. Thanks for helping one of our beautiful creatures that God created,” another added.
Meanwhile, some particularly observant viewers suggested that the kit had actually shown gratitude after all. “That little gesture at the end when it looked back one last time was like a ‘thank you,’” one user insisted. “Bless you for saving it.” ?
However, others were quick to point out that there is a lesson to be learnt from watching the film – namely, that although it was kind humans who saved the animal, it was careless humans who caused its trouble in the first place. “This is precisely why you shouldn’t litter your trash on the side of the road,” one person commented.
In an article on its website, PETA – People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals – warns people of the dangers of such littering. And according to the animal rights organization, it is everyday items such as soda cans and jars that cause the most problems.
To help prevent other life-threatening incidents like the one the kit in the video endured, PETA advises people to wash out their jars. Then when people do come to discard them, they should do so responsibly – but also secure the lid back on to the jar. That way, it is highly unlikely that any inquisitive little animal heads will become stuck inside.