Personal Journal of Todd Tokalu - Our Rescue Fox: The sanctuary received a call that a little red fox cub had seemingly been abandoned by its mother. This is his story.
Turbary Woods
Personal Journal of Todd Tokalu - Our Rescue Fox
Personal Journal of Todd Tokalu - Our Rescue Fox

Personal Journal of Todd Tokalu - Our Rescue Fox

By Turbary Woods Bird of Prey And Wildlife Sanctuary

Written by Blaise - surrogate fox mum!

Date 23 April 2010

The sanctuary received a call that a little red fox cub had seemingly been abandoned by its mother. The concerned people had already taken advice from the RSCPA who instructed them that, after 4 hours if the cub was still there, to contact a sanctuary.

Little cub was brought in to us and was cared for over night by Mark, one of our volunteers.

Date 24 April 2010

Rescue Fox CubThis was my first meeting with little cub and instantly we fell in love. Poor little mite was scared and tiny and so with the rest of the volunteers busy, I was doing my job in the shop so not moving far, cub was to spend the rest of the day nestled in my bra to keep warm and get over any shock he might be in.. I was told that cub was a girl… so I named her Lexi, though Bingo and Todd had already been suggested if it had been a boy.

She fed very little and was lethargic and unsteady on her feet when she tried to amble about but was happy to snuggle in said bra - though not much comfort for me as she has tiny needle sharp claws as you can see.

Mark had had a very sleepless night feeding little Lexi and trying to settle her… obviously she was very frightened and missing her mum and maybe brothers or sisters - so I offered to give him a break and take her just for the night. (oh what a change was coming from that……)

Rescue Fox CubTodd Tokalu - Rescue Fox Cub

Feeds were small and uninteresting for her with only 5-8ml at each of the 4pm & 8pm feeds.. And another 8ml at midnight. Each being a struggle as she had no natural suckling instinct. I then decided to retire for the night and tucked little Lexi up with my fox fur stole (yes I could not resist the replication of a surrogate mum cuddle thing for her even though it was my inherited vintage stole) it seemed to work and she settled.. At least for half hour!!!

Todd Tokalu - Rescue Fox CubTodd Tokalu - Rescue Fox Cub

Nothing but cuddles would suffice if I was to get any sleep and so for the next 2 hours she slept soundly curled up at the side of me… cant say the same for me as with my pet pug on my feet and Lexi under my arm.. Movement was somewhat restricted.

Date 25 April 2010

0300hrs
Nibbles and squawking alerts me to feed time and a hungry cub we have, 13ml she enjoyed followed by a large belch and off to sleep she goes.. Half hour goes by and its time - she decides - to go wee wee. Dutiful mother I stimulate the rear (though in humane-to-me method of damp cotton wool rather than mother-fox licking .. Ewwww) to encourage the bowel movement which works a yellowy treat - sorry but it is all part of her journal!

Todd Tokalu - Rescue Fox CubA restless few hours yelping in her den led to 2 hours sleep for both of us before an 8am feed of 13ml… toilet routine and back to curl up on my bosom and me collapse on the sofa to try eliminating tiny, though obvious, under eye bags.

1000hrs she wakes for more toileting and happily back to sleep.

Overnight, she seems to have changed colour and is becoming more red with some little white patches around her cheeks… cute!

Weight is 620gm

1130 hrs.. we arrive at the sanctuary to do a few more hours volunteering and Lexi is happily in oblivion until 12 noon when she let me know.. And BOY has she got lungs… that tummy was empty… a whopping slurpy 19ml later… Lexi was full and content and yet again… sleepy.

Todd Tokalu - Rescue Fox Cub

Only two hours later… another ‘feed me’ yelping gets my attention and so another 13ml vanished and a quick wander around the shop with a trip and tumble here and there - well… her gorgeous deep blue eyes are not yet fully functional so life tends to be bumpy!…but she is a lot more solid on her feet - and she cries for reassurance again. Everyone at Turbary can see the overnight change… in her that is, they are used to me…and so back into her den.

Todd Tokalu Rescue Fox Cub

1 hour later…. (boy do I get the feeling she is gonna make up for lost feeding time) yelps and nothing else that I do will suffice, means I try a feed… no hesitation to gutsy polishing off another 10ml. 2 hours later another 10 ml before we set off home… Now.. Here is a funny event….

We were on route (me and My partner with cub in tow) to collect a computer monitor when Lexi.. Hollars that all too familiar “I am hungry cry” so he gets her from said den and she thoroughly enjoys 15ml. On stimulating her rear end.. He notices some rather misplaced ‘lumps’… yeah you got it… Lexi is no longer a girl… seemingly over night 2 small but perfectly formed (as far as I would know fox genitalia) testes have appeared……!!!

So… dilemma… what do we call him!… well., that was Andy’s privilege so, for various lovely reasons he came up with the name Todd… Todd it is.. Though I still want a native name to go with it *wink*.. Come on… we are a native home nearly lol.

Todd Tokalu Rescue Fox CubShe… sorry HE .. Wakes, very lively and inquisitive. Little legs and nose explore as much as possible before realising that he is on his own and cant see very much nor smell me (no comments please). I let him exercise his lungs a little before the cries become too fractious and I bring him back to comfort in said bosom.

I am now thinking I need a GG bra-cum-fox-papoose but our daughter takes over with paternal pug joining into mother little cubby.

That running around sure worked up an appetite. At 21:10 bright eyed and err tailed.. was going to say bushy but it rather resembles a poker than a bush… Cub woke and took a whopping 19ml - more like what he should be taking I am told (I took information from a fox sanctuary online information site)

Another exploration of hard surfaces, followed by protective pug, wears cublet out so once curled up I set about the giving him a native name to go with Todd.

As every animal in our house has a native name - except Frank the pug (ok ok he was named that when we rescued him)… only a native name was good enough for little red. (My partner is native American Lakota Sioux…) Luta.. The Lakota name for ‘red’ seemed cute but boring… ‘red fox’ hmmm far too many syllables for that to be translated into a name, so Tokalu - which simply means fox… seemed perfect…. Tokalu…. At least we can now put a surname to this new little sanctuary rescue!

Todd Tokalu Rescue Fox Cub

Sure… its gonna break my heart when he goes… but with the advice & guidance from the fox specialists, we will have Tokalu ready for rehabilitation and back to his foxy world… it will be fabulously rewarding to know we helped save a precious little life who will hopefully grow, in balance, alongside mother earth. Just hope he doesn’t start advertising bingo!!!! Well we hoped he would return to the wild but after trying, unsuccessfully all day to find a rehab centre for him, none would or could take him.

Todd Tokalu Rescue Fox CubI started looking up more and more on the net about cubs and spoke to other sanctuaries way way south only to be told that he would never be able to go wild now. So we are now getting used to the idea that he will be our new semi pet.

Judging from various age pics of cubs, I don’t think this little fella isn't much more than 2weeks old. He is so Tiny and adorable that I am looking forward to watching him grow and develop into a mischievous fox.

Faeces are still watery yellow… so I am gonna try an egg yolk in his milk tomorrow to see if it is fat that is needed (again reading advice as, at 22.55, there is little chance of talking to a specialist tonight).

Feeds thru the night are small and he is very very restless… but then again he has slept most of the day and they are semi nocturnal… guess his play time and mine just ain't ever gonna match!

Date 26 April 2010

Today I am a little worried about little Todd… he has no interest to feed all night and he has been yelping a noise unlike his feeding cry or normal fox whine. Combined with the way he walks… very unsteady and back legs fluctuate between being jelly legs and very stiff and also the way he often walk in a tight circle over and over again have left me concerned. Just a gut feeling that things night not be quite right.. He has also started to pant a lot since about 3am and it is sporadic. When he sits.. His head is held low and he should be more alert.

1200 noon

Just spoken to a wonderful lady at a wildlife centre in Suffolk (no one around here either has interest/knowledge/time to talk to me - not even the RSCPA) who has said that unless Todd has some fellow cubs, then he will never be able to be wild. The sanctuaries are too full to take on more foxes and so it looks like he is another ‘pet’…. she already has 3 that were going to be put to sleep simply because the RSPCA near to her could not look after him no obviously re home it. She said that the techniques we are feeding him by and milk were fine and that he should start to eat solids soon.

I am still very concerned so I book and appointment with the vet to have him checked out.

1600hrs

Just back from the vet and at first he seemed unconcerned about Todd until one of the other vets suggested that his head seemed ‘dome shaped’ and that he was also very small for the time of year. Diagnosis… possible hydrocephalus. Combined with the symptoms that they described… (which matched those above plus that blue eyes - which he has - are indicative of corneal growth caused by hydrocephalus) my hopes of rearing this handsome chap are rapidly diminishing.

He suggests euthanasia but it is not something I want to decide upon just now and quite frankly would rather it be a combined decision between Andy and us. Didn’t think I would have a tear but I did. Such a small wee thing just hasn’t had a chance but it could be why mum abandoned him… nature has always been survival of the fittest. Tear did flood but I soon have to think about his welfare and we have had at least a tiny time with him. I am going to be positive for now anyways.

After speaking with Rocky and Andy, we decided that, though we respect the Vets expertise, we are going to give Todd a chance and see if it is simply him being the runt of the litter/late litter that has caused him to be weak and small… If there is any sign of suffering then there will be no hesitation to put him out of suffering.

1800hrs

I have spoken to a specialist fox centre in the south of England who says that hydrocephalus is very rare. They may only see 2 a year but Todds symptoms are typical, but not exclusive to the disease.

She suggests we carry on caring for him as we are and to watch for any further signs that hydrocephalus is present. Only an MRI scan would truly determine 100% but signs will be evident soon enough.

Anyway,,, back to journal… although not feeding much.. He has been stooling plenty so I guess he is getting enough feed. He even christened me at 8am with a very warm trickle down my armpit as he sat there being cute and innocent… DUPED!!! Whatever flicks a foxes switch I guess.., though it was relatively amusing… it’s a baby thing.

Todd Tokalu Rescue Fox Cub

Feeds are still slow and tiny but I bought a different feeder today to see if that helped and he is ok with it. Mark did buy him a kitty feeder but Todd wasn’t impressed (fussy boy) and they are difficult to use. The one we found today was like a dolly bottle with shorter teat and he did chew and take his milk..

Most of the day he has slept… one or two staggers around and he is getting quick on his feet though still very stiff and unstable. When awake his cries are still not normal nor do they stop when I am not touching him or holding him. I am thinking it is just his motherly needs that are causing this but a gut instinct is telling me differently.

We noticed tonight also that his blue eyes have changed somewhat grey… oh that was a huge bolt of hope. Maybe he is afterall very very young…. But sight isn’t good.

Todd Tokalu Rescue Fox Cub2044hrs

He is still sleeping and no interest too feed. His little face has changed from the stubby little face he had 2 days ago and he is a little more red.

2115hrs

Well alas.. Little Todd just polished off a whopping 17ml… then fell asleep.

After a short nap, Todd has decided its time for exploration and has more energy. He still yelps constantly if I am not touching him even when he is exploring. Its not looking hopeful so I have decided that tomorrow we shall seek a second opinion from another veterinary hospital.

Date 27 April 2010

The night was a restless one with Todd exploring but more symptoms have developed and I have now resigned myself to the fact he is poorly.

I get up with him a 6am - he is not interested in feeding so we sit and play a while before he falls asleep down my jumper as usual. This gives me some time to fully look up about hydrocephalus and compare symptoms. It's not good.

Feeds are of no interest to him today and his last feed was 2am. He seems to be rapidly diminishing and has started to tremble. He is restless, so I just cuddle him as he wishes until our vets appointment comes.

Later in the day, Rocky takes over nanny duties so that I can get on with other tasks to keep my mind of the impending vets visit. He is impervious to life and is enjoying inspecting the backs of his eyelids as little babies do best!!! I rather think rocky fell asleep with him too!

Todd Tokalu Rescue Fox CubTodd Tokalu Rescue Fox Cub

1500 hrs

Todd has slept all afternoon cuddled into to Rocky.. We were really pleased about this because if the worst is to come, we want him to be unaware of the vet and not cause him any stress.

He certainly loved his cuddles and hugs. That cute little nose and pink mouth - and looking as innocent as ever. Poor wee thing… sleep is his only relief of discomfort.

Todd Tokalu Rescue Fox CubAs soon as the vet got him on the table.. The way she felt his head confirmed the worst. This little fella has hydrocephalus. She had said if he was feeding we could let nature take its course but as he wasn’t feeding well, then it would only endure the suffering, so after lots of tears we decided that it's best to let him go. I am sure he knew as he just wanted cuddles and was sleepy. He was only about 2 weeks old which is what we thought. The lovely lady vet from Hillside veterinary hospital in Chorley said it was the worst she had ever seen. If it was this bad at 2 weeks old then in another 2 weeks he would be extremely sick and in lots of pain. Even if he had been feeding it would have been wrong to let him struggle on.

We stayed with him holding him and kissing him whilst she administered, very gently, the euthanasia with combined painkiller to make his passing as simple as sleeping.

He sang away his last little breathes which will stay in my mind forever. He seemed so content and I am sure he even had a little smile on his cheeky little face.

At 1535 he left us, very peacefully and quickly but it was still very hard after nursing him 24 hours a day.

We took him home so we could give him a little burial in our garden where the flowers will grow and the breeze will blow and we will remember him forever. We will plant some little foxgloves over his grave.

Thankyou little Todd Tokalu for coming into our lives.. Albeit it short.. At least he was not left to starve and suffer for days in nature… he was brought to us so we could give him lots and lots of love and cuddles and ease his journey into foxy heaven.

We wont forget you!

Safe journey little red.

Xxxxx

Many thanks to the following for advice and comfort:

www.Wildlife1.wildlifeinformation.org
www.foxproject.org.uk
Hillside veterinary hospital chorley
.. And everyone else who I rang for advice. Your support has been excellent.