Patsy Gibbons has unwittingly earned himself a reputation as the U.K.’s fox man.
Gibbons acquired his first fox, Grainne, as a seven-week-old cub when his brother-in-law found her in a storeroom seeking warmth. Although foxes are generally considered pests in the countryside, Gibbons and his brother-in-law took mercy on the painfully thin cub. They took her to a veterinarian, and the rest was history.
“I just continued on caring for her and haven’t stopped,” says Gibbons.
Grainne, now a healthy seven-year-old, isn’t the only fox in the family. After taking Grainne in, word of Ireland’s fox man began to spread. So, when a Kilmaganny woman later found a month-old fox pup, she took it straight to Gibbons.
That pup is now five-year-old Minnie, the second of Gibbons’ three foxes. Eleven-month-old Henry, a dog attack survivor, found his way to Gibbons with the help of man from the nearby town of Graiguenamanagh, who happened upon the injured cub.
Gibbons told the Irish Examiner that he does not intend to acquire more animals. However, his reputation has spread far and wide, and he reports that he is constantly called upon for advice.
“I now have people from all over the country and indeed the U.K. asking me for advice on looking after foxes…I’m no expert and I’m still learning from them day-by-day (but) I’m happy to advise as a lay person.”
Foxes are wild animals, and in ordinary circumstances, should not be sought after as pets.
“I never set out to have pet foxes,” says Gibbons. But clearly, the universe had other plans.
All photos by Reuters via The Telegraph.