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Sweet, sorrowful story from Wildwoods

From the Wildwoods Rehabilitation Facebook page:

In our lives as rehabbers, we witness many happy moments, but also many tragedies and moments of heartbreak. This story is one of the sad ones.

When friends of Wildwoods saw these very young, very tiny grey fox kits wandering around outside their den without their mom, they knew something was amiss. Something had happened to Mom; she was gone.

The tiny kits only weighed 260 grams each–about half a pound. They had watery eyes and runny noses, and didn’t look well. Was it just exposure and dehydration, or was it something more sinister? We’ve been seeing a fair number of distemper cases this spring, and it hits grey foxes hard.

There is no definitive test for distemper and in its early stages, it can look like other things … like a case of the sniffles. So we did our best to address the kits’ dehydration and exposure issues while carefully quarantining them in case it was distemper.

Our volunteers devoted many hours to rehydrating them, cleaning them, feeding them, loving them, and comforting them. But, despite our love and best efforts and all of our hopes, the kits weakened and died.

It wasn’t exposure. It wasn’t the sniffles. It was distemper, and there was nothing we could do to save them.

In wildlife rehab work, we always do our best. It can be so difficult to surrender to what is an inevitable outcome. Rehab life has its joys, its heartbreaks, and its tough and terrible decisions.

In the end, we always do our best for our wild neighbors and for our community. These are the driving forces that keep us going. Thanks for accompanying us on this sometimes joyful, often difficult, always heart-opening journey.

Rest in peace, dear little foxes …

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