Recently some foxes have moved into the neighborhood. First, it was just sightings of one. Well the one turned out to be a mom and she had four pups. Here they are frolicking in our backyard a few weeks ago:
They were adorable scampering about the yard, tumbling over each other as they played. I brought Robbie out to the porch to see them as they played. He seemed a bit concerned, but he didn't bark. He just sat and watched them.
I posted that picture on Facebook and some of my neighbors voiced their concerns about the diseases that these animals can bring. I read up on foxes on the Humane Society of the United States website and everything says that they are not a threat and you should let them be and even if they've built a den under your porch, just let the mom raise the pups. They won't bother you.
They can be a carrier of a potentially lethal parasite, but no website labeled it as a concern. They all spoke to how they are harmless and should be left alone.
So I felt pretty good about things. They didn't seem to come around when Robbie was out in the yard. I wasn't too worried about it.
But then I started spotting fox poo everywhere and I started getting concerned that Robbie would get a little too close to it. He's not a poo eater, but I don't know how that stuff transfers.
Then my neighbor mentioned that one of the foxes charged their little cockapoo dog.
Then Robbie's outside toys went missing.
Then yesterday, one showed up in our yard while Robbie was having his morning post-breakfast backyard wander. I was sleeping still, but Matt was up with him. He went to go bring him inside and saw the fox standing at the edge of the yard barking at Robbie...and the Robbie took off. He's on a tie-out, but he went after it sound hard that he snapped his collar. He was gone.
Robbie is ridiculously fast. He's a blink and he's gone kind of dog.
Matt came running down the hallway yelling at me to get up. I though the house on was on fire. He told me what happened as he threw on some shoes and told me to get the car. We were both frantic. He got back outside before me and as I got out the front door with car keys and leash in hand, I heard Matt yell "Robbie!" and around the corner came Robbie running full speed to the front door. I was so proud of him for returning right home, though I had to bite my tongue holding back any scolding as you're not supposed to scold a dog when it returns. You're supposed to praise it for doing the right thing.
Matt said he saw Robbie and the fox having a stare down in the neighbor's front yard before Robbie came running back.
My concern is starting to grow.
This morning I woke up around 5am to the most awful shrieking outside our bedroom window. It sounded like a witch's cackle...or a cat being tortured. But it was the fox barking. Just wandering around the yard and barking for no reason. Eventually, it went away. But then around 7am, it came back when my neighbor was letting out that same Cockapoo. The dog and the fox had another barking match before my neighbor was able to get the dog back inside.
I'm finding fox feces everywhere.
I'm worried that this particular fox is not all that healthy.
I called Animal Control and I got the same rundown about how foxes are harmless and that it's just trying to raise its pups and will be gone soon enough.
Not sure what to do. It sucks not to be able to just let Robbie lie around outside in the sun like he likes to do so much.
I also don't know if we're dealing with one crazy fox or - potentially - five of them.
I know I haven't seen a rabbit in the neighborhood in a long time.
I guess for now we just wait and see.