After numerous incidents during the night, the men were worn out. They could easily fit the tiny puppies in the palms of their hand. The firemen shuddered from the cold and put a wet handkerchief over their eyes. Puppy after puppy was put in a cardboard box covered in blankets.
As the black critters huddled together to search for their siblings, they squealed and cried. It wasn’t long before something strange happened.
Firefighters have a demanding job. A variety of tests must be passed before they can risk their lives every day. There are approximately 100 multiple-choice questions on reasoning, logic, spatial awareness, and memory in written exams.
The next step is a physical agility test that includes obstacles like sprinting up stairs while carrying 200 pounds. The hazardous job has its complications. However, occasionally they get calls that are a welcome diversion from fatal mishaps.
Various call-outs are commonplace for firefighters. From accidents to wildfires to stranded animals, individuals who commit their life to the department have seen it all. They have rescued the defenseless and the weak. But it doesn’t make the challenging parts of their job any less difficult.
To protect the safety of the neighborhood, the squad installed fire alarms in homes. However, there are frequently events that manage to catch these firefighters off guard.
They have saved animals from all types of situations, including up trees, on roofs, between pipes, and under buildings. Among the animals they have rescued are fish, cats, turtles, dogs, parrots, pigeons, rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, and budgies. Both the community and their beloved pets consider the Colorado Springs firefighters heroes.
Not all animals, unfortunately, are fortunate enough to have owners to care for them.
Colorado Spring Firefighters responded quickly to a call from concerned residents inquiring about puppies that had fallen into a storm drain. Their wails and sobs could be heard miles away.
In order to locate the dark balls of fur, the men got down on their hands and knees. As they displayed their skills, a crowd gathered around them. There was a high risk of predators preying on the young. They did not have time on their side.
While the other team member fished the puppies from the drain, half of the group looked for the animal’s mother. Others cried. Some remained quiet. Nearly all writhed as they were separated from their siblings and placed on a clean towel in a cardboard box, according to fire captain Brian Vaughan.
They were all extremely underweight, thin, and black as soot. For warmth and solace, they shuffled closer to one another. The firefighters eventually become worn out.
As the crowd cheered the firefighter’s rescue, they deduced that the puppies were black labradors. These critters appeared to be blind and deaf like typical puppies. They were silent and kept their eyes closed, but these appeared smaller than normal.
Their tails were excessively long, and their heads appeared to be too large for their lean bodies. Then they saw one lying still in a corner by itself.
Before cleaning the creature’s face with a damp cloth, Brian held it in his warm hands. There was a growing feeling of fear. Had these pups been abandoned? Could they have been victims? Did their mother suffer any injuries, or worse? Mistreatment was something he had seen too often.
Due to the harm done to animals all night long on Halloween, he detested it. Did the same thing happen to these helpless animals?
The team had to spend twenty minutes pulling all nine puppies out of the drain. The neighborhood and the firefighters in Colorado Spring were thrilled with yet another successful rescue operation. The Humane Society of the Pikes & Peak Region was their destination after they placed the pups onto their vehicle.
Throughout the years, the animal welfare nonprofit has been a shelter for abandoned and neglected animals in South Carolina. These animals weren’t frequent visitors, but firefighters were.
As soon as the young creatures arrived at the Humane Society, they were cold, hungry, dirty, and tired. An inspection was conducted on each puppy before they went to sleep for the night.
They were scared and only a few weeks old. They had short, black hair. Then they understood that these creatures weren’t even pups!
No, these aren’t Labradors, these are foxes,’” Brian Vaughan shared. When fox cubs are disturbed, mothers flee their side and monitors them from a distance. She keeps a close eye on her litter from afar and only returns when it is safe to do so.
Chances are, the mother of these cubs was lurking close by when they were spotted by people passing by. She waited patiently for the crowd to disperse for the chance to move her kin. But when a crowd began to grow, she feared to return.
Although amazed by the true identity of their rescuers, the firefighters were relieved that the cubs were not victims of mistreatment. They had seen enough injured animals in the past to last them a lifetime.
They returned to the scene to search for their mother. However, she was nowhere to be found. Luckily, Colorado Springs were no strangers to foxes.
Located at the bottom of the Rocky Mountain, the wildlife of Colorado Springs varies. The locals are familiar with foxes, spotting the primarily nocturnal animals on the outskirts of the city late at night.
When temperatures dip in Winter, they move closer to homes and buildings, scavenging bins for extra provisions. But few have seen a littler of cubs, including the firefighters. They couldn’t believe their luck.
“This time of year, there are a lot of animals that are starting to have their young,” Travis Sauder, a manager from Colorado Parks and Wildlife District Wildlife, shared his wildlife expertise. “[Mothers] have [their young] in small dens that are places that we can encounter when we’re recreating in the outdoors like we like to do.”
But what would become of these cubs?
After an unsuccessful attempt to reunite the cubs with the mother, they are now being watched by the dedicated vets of the Humane Society. The center’s co-founder, Terri Collins, explained their plans to rehabilitate the young cubs at the Animal Clinic of Woodland Park.
“We hope to be able to rescue all of them,” he shared. Let’s hope these critters make it back home to their family after their rocky start.
The Animal Clinic, fortunately, had another rescue fox who had just been brought in the week before. They tried to integrate a few of her pups into the litter but the weary mother would not accept them. The vets tried their best but knew that they had to give these pups some extra tender loving care on their own.
They continued to feed the pups a special milk formula. It is very similar to the ones used for abandoned kitties and puppies. The tiny fox pups took well to the formula and started to pick up in size and weight.
A few days later the tiny babies started showing more energy. Their tiny eyes opened for the first time. The vets knew that they were now finally out of harm’s way.
Their rehabilitation was touch and go and although they were out of the woods, there was still a lot of work to do before the vets could put them back in the woods. Perhaps it would be sooner than they thought.
The fox puppies were showing great signs of improvement. After a few more days of observation and monitoring, they were strong enough to be released from incubation. The animal clinics caretakers cleared a special room for the puppies and ensured it was safe for their growth.
When the vets moved the puppies they noticed that they were looking more like foxes now and less like puppies. It wouldn’t be too long before they would be able to eat solid food.
Over the next few days, the vets gave special instructions to the caretakers about how to care for the fox puppies. They had to ensure that their food was given at the exact time every day to ensure steady muscle growth.
The vets were happy with the growth of the pups. Now that they started walking around, they were interacting with their environment. Was their little room going to be big enough for them to play in?
The Animal Clinic in Colorado has been in existence for over 25 years. They have a stellar reputation in the community. The clinic is also renowned for being voted the best veterinarian and animal hospital for the past 4 years running.
Terri Collins has been a partner in the practice with Dr. Volz since 2005. A graduate of Bel-Rea Institute of Veterinary Technology in Denver, she is the practice manager and a technician at The Animal Clinic. She is also a state and federally-licensed wildlife rehabilitator.
As the foxes grew they were becoming faster and more sly. They would play games with the caretaker at mealtime and hide when it was time for their checkups. Although they were now only a month old, they had learned about humans and were keen to interact.
Seeing the fast growth of the foxes prompted the vets to reconsider their boarding facilities. They were going to have to move them out of the room and onto the open. These fox pups needed to play outside.
Most baby animals require approximately 6 weeks to be weaned off the mother. Since these fox pups were accustomed to bottle drinking (they were not raised by their mother’s milk), it was possible that they matured faster. At only 4 weeks old, they were already enjoying the solid porridge which was now their breakfast meal.
They were making quite a mess in the small room. The cute puppies were also just discovering their voices. Their tiny shrill yelps could be heard down the building corridor. They required a larger space to play and a larger litter box too!
It was a warm sunny day when the animal clinic staff prepared to move the baby foxes. They had cleaned and secured a large playpen outdoors. Thankfully, due to regular donations and sponsors, they were able to find the funds to make the space a little fox friendly.
The vets ensured that the space was protected from the elements. They cut the grass and loosened the soil, as foxes are known to burrow. They are sly creatures to like to hide and move very fast when it’s time to hunt or escape!
The fox cubs were delighted with their new home. The vets invited a few special sponsors to attend the move. The onlookers took videos of the happy foxes jumping, running, and scurrying about. They were smelling everything and running in and out of their new kennels.
Foxes are known to be funny creatures and today they didn’t disappoint. The fox commotion amused everyone tremendously as they got selfies with the foxes doing funny things in the background.
Photographs had been going viral online. The new fox playpen brought many children and visitors to the animal clinic. Even people who had visited before, made another special visit just to see the fox cubs playing. Since they are shy creatures, one rarely gets to see them in their natural habitat or when they are young.
Many people knew this which is why they took the time to come out and see the furry foxes. The clinic managed to raise a lot of money from entry donations. Feeding hungry animals is an expensive and full-time job.
After a busy week with the media and press, the vets started noticing a difference in the foxes’ behavior. They were growing up. Although they were still babies, they were getting more in touch with their instincts and it was starting to show.
They started ripping blankets, biting toys, and digging holes everywhere. The once beautifully renovated playpen now looked like a pig sty. The vets knew what it was time for, even though they didn’t want to.
The vets started making arrangements to secure and transport the foxes back into the wild. There were a few things they had to ascertain before doing so. First, they had to find the best location, and then they had to monitor the foxes over a period of time to check if the integration went well.
The vets knew that they had more work cut out for them. The caretakers prepared the gear and packed backpacks, it was time for a road trip. Destination- Fox Burrow
The vets packed up their 4x4s and headed up toward the Colorado National Park. They were going to find a place that was quiet and safe for the little babies to grow. The drive was long and tiring but part of the job was traveling to rough terrain.
As they drove, they passed an area that had black grass. What was that? Terris asked as she looked back out her window onto the shadow land. “It looks as though this part of the woods was devoured by wildfires.” her vet friend responded.
Terris let out a small scream. She had forgotten about the problem Colorado had with wildfires, especially during the dry, windy season. Can you imagine what would happen to those innocent babies if we left them here alone? she said aloud “I shudder to think.”
The vets agreed with her. They pulled over on the side of the dirt road to take a break and eat some lunch. As they ate, they looked over the woodland plains, half was bright green, lush, and dense, and the other was dark, barren, and burnt. Is it a good idea to leave the cubs here after all?
The vets walked around the spot for a while. They took in the smells and sounds of the infamous Colorado Woodland Forest. Was this place going to be the new home of the fox cubs? With wildfires on the rise, poor creatures, like foxes, are forced out of their homes. They try to find refuge in the city but man’s inventions lead them into worse situations.
The events decided to head back home. They had become attached to the cubs and there was no reason that they had to rush the natural rehabilitation just yet. Perhaps something would come up so that the cubs could stay at the animal clinic for a little while longer.
In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead are entirely coincidental