You're my favorite.

No, really - you are.

Friday, January 06, 2006

They make my heart feel different.

A couple of months ago, late one night, we saw a fox in our front yard. Today, we saw one in the alley behind the house a few doors down. At 8:30 in the morning. Sitting in the sun. With cars whizzing by a hundred yards away on Louisiana.

She was looking around calmly, swishing her tail every so often. She didn't leave when Ben and Wilbert walked out to the car. She didn't leave when I came out to see too. She didn't leave when Ben started the car and drove the opposite way down the alley. For all I know, she's still there now.

I thought about calling Animal Control – I was worried she might be rabid since she's out during the day and didn't seem nervous with people and a smallish but very intent dog standing there watching her. But apparently that's something foxes do. They hunt MOSTLY at dawn or dusk, but if they feel secure enough, they'll hunt squirrels during the day when the squirrels are awake and active. Guess this lady was feeling pretty comfortable and possibly a little snack-y, because she was chillin' right by where a lot of squirrels live.

Wilbert is at his doggie daycare today (we send him once every couple of weeks to get him all worn out), and I'm just as glad. Probably the fox wouldn't go after him; they're both part of the canine family and Wilbert is definitely bigger than the fox. But still. Foxes hunt to, y'know, survive, and this one is obviously quite good at it since she's still around. Wilbert hunts out of instinct and hasn't caught anything faster than a bug yet. He has high hopes, though.


I just went back outside to see if she was still there, 20 minutes later. She was behind our garage, walking toward me. As soon as she saw me, she panicked and ran down the alley, a bit past where we'd seen her in the first place, jumped and scrambled to the top of a six foot fence and just sat, watching me, clearly nervous but not running quite yet.

Except I don't think this was the same fox we saw in the first place. Because I pulled out my cell phone to take a picture, and while I was doing that, another fox wandered out of the yard of the home that's being built two doors down. She stood there and looked from me to the fox on the fence and seemed totally comfortable with me taking pictures. I think she was the first one, the one who didn't move when Wilbert was desperately straining to get to her.

I took two pictures, then ran inside to get our digital camera in hopes of getting a better shot. By the time I got back out there, maybe 45 seconds later, they were gone. Into a den, off on a hunt in a less populated alley, over to the park or the river, I don't know.

The pictures I got are not good. My little Samsung phone does its best, but it's not meant to show foxes a hundred yards away. But here they are anyway:

fox in alley

(She's by the white garage in the middle of the photo.)

fox on fence

(This one is on the fence in the distance by the telephone pole. You might have to squint. And use your imagination.)

I hope they've gone somewhere safe now. Somewhere people won't see them and panic and try to hurt them. Somewhere close. Somewhere near enough that they'll come back to the alley. Not to our yard, at least not while the dog is out, just to the alley. But I'd like to see them again.