Family of Foxes Brings Joy Amid COVID Crisis
(Crystal A. Proxmire, April 28, 2020)
Sterling Heights, MI – As Michiganders “stay home and stay safe” during the COVID-19 outbreak, many are discovering the delights of the nature in their very own neighborhoods.
Aaron Fortin has discovered such joy in an area of green space near his Sterling Heights home. He’s been watching and photographing a family of foxes that love to frolic in the nearby field.
“The first time I ever saw a fox was a snowy night two years ago,” he said. “I was coming home between 11 and midnight, and my headlights caught the reflection in its eyes as I came down the street.
“When I got closer, I could clearly tell it was a fox just sitting up in the snow, like how a dog would sit. Its big fluffy tail was unmistakable.”
“Since then, I’ve seen foxes in the same area on occasion. I have narrowed down that I see them much more often between February and May. It wasn’t until last year that I saw the fox babies out with the adults. There are only a few green spaces left in my area of Sterling Heights, and this is where they tend to stay and build their dens. In this current group, I have definitely seen two adults and two kits.”
Fortin is a co-founder of NBS Animal Rescue, a nonprofit focused on re-homing dogs. As he and the other volunteers wrap their heads around the changes necessary to move their mission forward in the midst of a pandemic, the foxes have been a bright spot.
“I’ve only been able to monitor this group more closely due to being home for the COVID stay at home order. Several times a day I will drive by the area I have seen them in, or park close by and watch for an hour or so,” Fonrtin said.
When he’s not watching the foxes, Fortin is helping rescue dogs. Through the crisis, NBS and other organizations are seeing an increase in need, as well as adapting to make fostering and adopting dogs as safe a process as possible.
Jaime Wolfe, who also co-founded NBS, told Oakland County Times, “It’s been an interesting time for animal rescues during the pandemic. We have seen things that we have never seen before like shelters that have never been able to empty their shelters or largely reduce their animal population and they have very quickly been able to do that.
“We have received more calls for new foster inquiries these last 30 days than any in our history since 2011. Quite simply, this is due to the public stepping up and offering to foster or adopt while they are at home. It is so awesome to see the public continue to come together for our four legged friends who don’t have a voice in all of this!
“It has also made things more complicated for organizations such as ours to do adoptions. Veterinary offices are largely closed to routine veterinary care: spay, neuter, microchip insertions, vaccines, and well visits. Grooming shops are closed. These are things we do for all of our dogs prior to adoption. We also will not do home visits for adoptions currently for the safety of our potential adopters. Instead we have turned to technology to do Zoom or video home visits with new adopters and to give them time to virtually meet the dog they are interested in adopting. And we are putting foster to adopt contracts in place to not finalize adoptions until the routine veterinary and grooming shops open back up and our dogs that have been adopted can receive those necessary services. Overall, this could revolutionize the way we do adoptions in the future making it easier for everyone, which I think is a real positive for animal advocacy groups such as ours.”
As this work continues, Fortin is excited for his moments of just connecting with nature and his neighborhood friends.
“The adults scare easily and are very alert. I am careful to give them their distance, as I do not want then to feel unsafe or like they needed to move,” he said. “There aren’t many places left for them to go. On a side note, I have also seen reports of fox sightings over the last year on my neighborhood ring reports, covering about a 2-3 mile radius.”
To keep the creatures safe, we are not disclosing the location of the animals. But here are some pictures to enjoy: