The sweetest friendship: Terrier in wheelchair becomes guide dog for blind fox
Get ready to have your heart melt. A terrier who uses a wheelchair has become an unlikely guide dog for a blind fox, winning them fans as a ‘fox and hound’ duo on walks.
The fox learned to follow the sound of her ‘big brother’s’ wheels, spurring on their sweet relationship. West highland terrier, Jack was taken in by vet Ana Lapaz-Mendez two months after she gave the one-year-old fox Pumpkin her forever home in East Finchley, North London, late last year. Since then the caring pup has looked out for her.
Footage shows docile Pumpkin following Jack closely using sound and smell while on park walks. Even cuter, when Pumpkin gets distracted the terrier will patiently wait for her to catch up.
Jack is protective warns other cats and dogs away from bothering Pumpkin too, as Ana says he ‘feels a responsibility to look after her like a brother does with a sister’.
The 42-year-old saved both animals from being put down, after Pumpkin was found with two broken legs and Jack needed constant attention after a spinal tumour halted his ability to walk.
She says the pair quickly became famous with her neighbours and Instagram videos of their loving relationship have more than 100,000 views. Ana said: ‘Jack was really slow at first and didn’t know the area so he’d follow me and then Pumpkin would follow him. ‘Whenever she hears the wheels she will go in that direction. ‘If the sound of the wheels are behind her, she’ll stop, do a circle and follow them. At night she’ll even run next to Jack. ‘Now Jack can move better, he’s begun to be more interested in squirrels, but he’ll still come and check.
He’ll walk off and then wait for Pumpkin. It’s become a natural thing now. ‘It’s great that Jack has never treated Pumpkin like a fox, thinking he has to chase her. I’m not sure how much Pumpkin is aware that she’s even a fox.’ However, it’s not all endearing as Ana said they clash sometimes in the same way siblings do.
‘It’s not the perfect relationship because sometimes Jack gets annoyed with her, but it’s like a brother and sister relationship. ‘He tells Pumpkin off a lot when she needs it without hurting her, but I’m not sure how much she understands with her learning difficulties. She needs 100% help.’ Even so, he’s always there to look out for her. Ana said: ‘If another dog goes for Pumpkin or tries to smell her, Jack defends her. He’s got between a cat and Pumpkin and told the cat off. ‘It feels good to see, but it feels tiring too. Jack helps Pumpkin but he’s really naughty himself now he’s more independent and thinks he’s top dog.’
Ana believes he’ll probably always need wheels, even though he walks better now than when his tumour was first removed. Ana’s other rescue dog, Croqueta also takes her turn to check on Pumpkin – but as a fully able dog she’s more help finding Jack when he gets lost in bushes. Though they used to often walk in Hampstead Heath, North London, the attention from other dogs and owners grew too much.
Ana said: ‘When school children are around they like getting close to Pumpkin because he’s a fox that won’t run away. Everybody loves them. ‘I’ve heard a lot of people on walks talking about Jack and his wheels and then they see the fox is coming along too. ‘There were too many people so we walk in quieter areas now.’ However, you can catch the duo on video as their walks have been shared across the internet to much excitement.
Kobin Kuzmia commented on one video, saying: ‘Awww jack and the fox that sounds meant to be.’ Teija Flink said: ‘Amazing the disabled little doggie is a service or guide dog for the fox, really heart-warming.’ Theresa Smith added: ‘This story just warms your heart and makes your soul smile.’ Ana is hoping that as Jack continues to regain strength in his legs he’ll keep checking on Pumpkin – despite his new-found obsession with squirrels.
Teacher rescues injured fox using a mega box of Dreamies cat treats
A teacher who takes in stray cats has told how she rescued an injured fox hiding under her car – reviving the hurt animal with some Dreamies cat treats. Georgia-Blue Townshend, 28, from Colchester, Essex, had left her house on March 7 to fetch some nappies and toys she’d left in the car for her nine-month-old son, Eden, when she spotted something curled up on her driveway.
Beneath the back of her car was a whimpering fox. The secondary school English teacher who lives with her partner, John, 30, and Eden, said: ‘I was just going out to get the things out of my car when a neighbour told me there was something curled up by the back wheel.
‘On a closer look, I realised it was a fox and all I could think was “the poor little thing” – it definitely looked injured.’ Taking one of her coats from the car, thinking it could be used as a bed for the animal, she crouched down and slowly approached. She said: ‘The fox was obviously in pain – she kept looking up at me, not moving. Very slowly, I crept over to get a better look. She had ticks all over her eyes and some sort of ulcer on her nose. It was really sad.’ Laying the coat out in front of the scared animal, Georgia-Blue decided to grab a mega box of Dreamies cat treats from her house and offered some to the fox. ‘She loved the Dreamies,’ Georgia-Blue said. ‘She seemed to perk up when I offered them.’ Revitalised by the feline treats, the fox began to move.
Georgia-Blue noticed the fox’s back legs didn’t appear to be working, so she laid a towel over her to keep her warm and waiting for help to arrive. With the aid of neighbours, Georgia-Blue searched on her phone for an appropriate rescue centre. But she was informed that, because the fox seemed tame, it was unlikely that anywhere could rehabilitate her and release her back into the wild. Georgia-Blue continued: ‘One rescue organisation advised it was likely that the fox would be put down as she was too friendly and tame.’ They continued searching quickly until, after 10 minutes, they found a local fox rescue centre willing to take her in.
Georgia-Blue said: ‘It was important to us to find somewhere that wouldn’t put her down but even the centre we found agreed that the fox would never be re-released.’ An expert from D and K Fuzzy Ferrets and Fox Rescue suggested that the fox would live out her days in a sanctuary once her leg was mended. Rescue staff assessed her condition, telling Georgia-Blue that the animal she’d rescued was two years old. The neighbours decided to name her Gillian, but also found out some hard news – it was possible she had parasite infection toxoplasmosis (which would explain why her back legs didn’t work).
The disease can impact a fox’s central nervous system, their lungs causing pneumonia, their liver resulting in hepatitis, and their eyes. Georgia-Blue added: ‘Unfortunately, it means Gillian can’t be released back into the population because it breaks down all of her instincts and she’s become tame.’ Filled with concern and wanting to offer the fox a loving home, Georgia-Blue requested to adopt Gillian after she was rehabilitated. Settling the fox into the home posed no problem for Georgie-Blue, who has four cats and has rescued strays before. But it was decided that the best place for Gillian was an animal sanctuary in Whitby, North Yorkshire, where she could be professionally cared for.
Georgia-Blue said: ‘The wildlife sanctuary has turned out to be the better option so that’s fine, I want what’s best for her. ‘The rescue centre is allowing me to be there on the day of her move to say goodbye. If I ever pass by Whitby, I’ll make sure to pop in and see how she’s doing.’ And the animal-lover said: ‘I couldn’t help but connect with her when I first saw her – that look in her eye said she needed someone to save her. ‘I’m sure there will be more animals in the future in need of a loving home. We have a busy house but there’s always room for another.’
(Article source: Metro)