It was a bright winter day, so it was the perfect time to take a walk. But as one woman was passing through a field, she noticed something out of the ordinary. There, in the middle of the grass, was an injured fox. And he was in such a bad way that he could hardly move…
Dan Martin is a self-confessed animal lover. On Facebook, he calls himself “That Wildlife Rescue Guy” and posts about his escapades helping animals in need. As a result, he is well known in his local area of Doddington, England, for his kind heart.
So when the aforementioned lady stumbled across the injured fox, she knew exactly who to call. From what she could make out, it seemed that the creature had sustained an injury to his foot.
Consequently, Martin rushed to the location to help. When he got there, he saw the fox standing in the middle of an open field. “[The fox was] out in broad daylight, limping badly on his hind foot. I attended as fast as I could, armed with just a soft towel,” Martin wrote on Facebook in February 2017.
Martin knew that the fox must be terrified, so he decided to approach slowly and with caution. “After spotting him in a field I could see he was desperate for help,” the rescuer wrote. “Armed with my trusty towel I slowly approached him, talking softly to him and crouching down to his level as I got closer.”
However, the fox proved to be very wary. In fact, it took Martin 20 minutes to get close to the terrified animal. Then, when he was within touching distance, the animal lover allowed the fox to sniff him. It seemed that he’d finally won the creature’s trust.
But having come so far, Martin was unwilling to rush things at the last moment. “I slowly pointed at his foot repeatedly so he knew what I was there for,” he explained on Facebook. To make sure that the fox felt safe and comforted, the wildlife expert continued to talk to the animal throughout.
“After a brief discussion with him – I was doing all the talking – about what the plan was, I gently wrapped the towel around him and scooped him up with no fuss whatsoever,” Martin told his followers. “Once I got him home, I booked him in for an appointment at the vets.”
Martin decided to name the fox “Basil.” And after inspecting the fox’s mangled foot, the rescuer concluded that the animal had been injured for some time. With nothing left to do until morning, Martin gave his new four-legged friend some pain relief and much needed TLC.
His efforts didn’t go unnoticed by Basil. “The following morning he was bright and grateful,” Martin revealed on Facebook. “He even came to the front seat for a cuddle once we arrived at the vets.”
Because Basil seemed so relaxed in Martin’s arms, he decided to stick with the fox. “He was so cuddly with me, I opted to stay with him for the hour-and-a-half wait for his surgery, which he seemed really happy about,” he said. “I was even there as he drifted off to sleep on the operating table.”
And Martin wasn’t the only person to fall for Basil’s charm. One of the vets at the Holbeach and Fleet Veterinary Clinic turned out to be a fan of foxes. So she kindly agreed to operate on Basil free of charge.
The vets concluded that Basil’s injury was likely caused by a shotgun. Some heartless individual must have shot at the defenseless creature before cruelly leaving him to die. Understandably, the revelation angered wildlife enthusiast Martin.
“Why anyone would want to kill these beautiful creatures, I will never know,” he wrote on Facebook. “Maybe it’s because the people who do are a lot uglier? I don’t know, jealousy is a terrible thing.”
Thankfully, Basil’s surgery went as well as it could do. But due to the extent of the fox’s injuries, the vets had to amputate his leg. This turn of events caused Martin to decide against re-releasing him back into the wild.
Instead, Basil’s rescuer contacted the National Fox Welfare Society. The society has been helping the U.K.’s red fox population for over two decades. The organization rescues injured foxes and provides medical care for those in need.
The charity also provides sanctuary for those unfortunate foxes that can’t return to the wild. So it seemed that the National Fox Welfare Society was the right organization for Basil. And thankfully, they agreed to take him in.
At his new home, Basil is recovering from his surgery and getting used to life on three legs in the best possible surroundings. However, he is sadly missed by his human hero, Martin.
However, Martin remained hopeful that they would meet again. “I really hope to see him again,” Martin told The Dodo in March 2017. “I’ve been following his progress on their web page, and he’s clearly the most handsome fox there.”
Hopefully, Martin will be reunited with Basil soon. But at least he can take comfort in the fact that his friendly fox will now live out his days in peace. And he will surely cherish his warm memories of his cuddles with Basil for the rest of his life.