As he logged onto Facebook, Craig Mcgettrick thoughts no doubt turned to the little puppies that he’d found in the trash. “Who could have abandoned such helpless animals?” he may have wondered. But as he looked at his message alerts, he had an even bigger surprise. After all, if the comments were right, the animals that he’d rescued weren’t puppies at all.
Mcgettrick lives near Liverpool in the United Kingdom, where he works as a mover. In fact, he was on a job with a co-worker in March 2017 when they made their shocking discovery.
The workers were clearing trash from a debris-filled yard when they shifted a discarded mattress. But to Mcgettrick’s surprise, it wasn’t just more garbage that they found underneath the bedding. No, something was alive under there. Five little somethings, to be precise.
Yes, the pair had uncovered a litter of baby animals. Indeed, the creatures were so young that the movers couldn’t work out exactly what they were. Mcgettrick assumed that they were either kittens or puppies, and he decided that the latter was the more likely option.
“Those were probably the only two options I knew of,” Mcgettrick told The Dodo in April 2017. “We thought someone had dumped them knowing we were going to remove rubbish.” But the movers couldn’t bear to leave the helpless little puppers, so they decided to save their lives.
Mcgettrick bundled up his uncovered treasures and put them safely in a box for transport. He thought the best place for them would be a local animal-rescue center. That being the case, he dropped them off and posted their photos up on social media.
At first, Mcgettrick had no reason to think anything was amiss with the babies. They looked a little unusual, sure, but the initial Facebook comments seemed to agree that they were indeed puppies. Someone else suspected otherwise, however, and asked some experts for their opinion on the matter.
Yes, a member of the public sent the “puppy” pictures to the National Fox Welfare Society (NFWS). “We were contacted by a lovely lady called Beccie through our Facebook Page,” NFWS posted on Facebook in March 2017. It was then that the “puppies” were correctly identified.
“Beccie had sent a few photos asking if the babies in the photos were indeed fox cubs. [We] confirmed they certainly were,” the NFWS post continued. The NFWS is an organization with more than 20 years under its belt, so if anyone was in a position to recognize baby foxes, its experts were.
The NFWS is a voluntary group that has committed itself to helping sick and wounded foxes across the U.K. Not only does the organization treat wild foxes, but it also has facilities for those that can’t be rehabilitated. The charity was clearly the best hope, then, for assisting Mcgettrick’s fox “pups.”
“Beccie advised us that they had been taken to a rescue center in Liverpool mistakenly as puppies, not fox cubs,” the NFWS explained. Because the pups were so young, it was actually an easy mistake to make. After all, fox babies don’t develop their distinguishing red fur until they’re older.
The trash-filled yard where the fox family was found had most likely been acting as their home. Furthermore, it’s not unusual for fox cubs to be left alone in their dens when their mothers go out hunting. So it’s not surprising that Mcgettrick had thought the cubs were abandoned puppies.
In any event, the NFWS had to act quickly to return the cubs before their mother moved on. Luckily, Beccie managed to get hold of numbers for both Mcgettrick and the animal shelter holding the cubs. Meanwhile, the NFWS was already getting assistance from a local fox rescuer, Paul McDonald.
Liverpool resident McDonald – nicknamed The Fox Man – works for Freshfields Animal Rescue. He was happy to help, too, and agreed to take the cubs back to their mother. The NFWS also contacted the animal shelter that was looking after the “puppies” and arranged for their collection.
With permission from property owner Karen, McDonald took the pups back to their yard the very same day. Apparently, the mother had already been out looking for her babies. But The Fox Man was no stranger to vixen behavior, as he explained to The Dodo.
“I didn’t give the cubs any milk in order for them to be hungry so they’d cry out and call for their mum, which they did. [They were put] around the same place they were found. I knew the mum would be… checking the place she last had them,” explained McDonald.
The babies were bundled up in a cardboard box with a hot-water bottle to keep them cozy. Then, it was simply a matter of waiting for the mommy fox to continue her search. And just over an hour later, the vixen reappeared and found her cubs.
Initially, the mother only took one cub, and it seemed that she may have rejected the others. Over the two hours that followed, though, the vixen came back. “By 7:01 p.m., Paul text[ed] me a photo of the empty box,” NFWS posted on Facebook.
“All through this, I was letting Beccie and Craig know,” NFWS wrote. “And everyone was so pleased that the cubs were back where they belonged… with mom! Special thanks to Beccie… Craig and Karen for their invaluable help and the Animal Sanctuary for agreeing to pass the cubs on.”
“[Also thanks] to Paul and his team for collecting the cubs and sitting patiently with hearts in mouths waiting for the vixen to return,” the post continued. “This story was only possible because of… every person mentioned above. It really is heart-warming to know that this combined teamwork reunited five fox cubs with their vixen mother. Well done everyone and thank you.”
While these little balls of fur surprised rescuers when they grew up to be foxes, this dog’s story seems to be the reverse. The people who found him wandering the streets of India struggled to tell what animal he actually was. But thanks to their help, he now looks completely unrecognizable.
When an ailing dog was found on the streets, his face was so swollen that he looked like a different kind of animal entirely. And while his rescuers were experienced with dealing with sick animals, they were still shocked by the state that he was in. Looking at him now, though, you’d never guess the ordeal that he’d been through.
In January 2016 animal welfare organization Animal Aid Unlimited posted a shocking video to YouTube. In the clip, a statement explained how a concerned member of the public had called them. In particular, the individual reported that they had spotted a street dog with a horribly swollen face.
With no time to lose, a team from the organization rushed to the scene to find the dog. When they finally located him, he was standing in the dirt near the village of Udaipur in India. And as they had been warned, he was in a bad way.
At first, however, the dog was wary of the Animal Aid Unlimited ambulance team. Before long, though, he skipped over to a member of the rescue effort. All at once, the animal had revealed his sweet nature.
And now that they were in touching distance of the dog, the sheer extent of the swelling became obvious. As a result, the team knew that he was in desperate need of veterinary attention. But before they could get him medical help, they had to win his trust.
Indeed, it was essential that they could reach out to him if they were to bring him to safety. Unfortunately, though, the stricken animal was still cautious of the humans. So the Animal Aid Unlimited team changed tack and instead began feeding biscuits to the desperate dog.
After he was given the offering, moreover, he began wagging his tail. Encouraged by the dog’s reaction, the team decided to try and capture him with a net. Crucially, they had to get their hands on him quickly – for if he were to make his escape into the nearby fields, then they would never be able to retrieve him.
What’s more, the team had only one chance to get it right. So they carried out their best-laid plan: one team member distracted the dog with food, while another eased the net over his head. Carefully, they slipped the net over him – and they had him.
Now that they had safely captured the dog, the Animal Aid Unlimited team could take him in to receive treatment. Since 2002, the charitable organization has rescued Indian street animals and has worked to inspire locals to care for their fellow living beings. Its team treats rescued animals at the charity’s hospital, giving them a second chance at life.
Hence, when the dog arrived at the shelter, he was in the best possible hands. Vets carried out a thorough inspection of him in a bid to get to the bottom of what was causing his swelling. During the investigation they punctured his face with a needle – a process that they used to confirm that the animal had an abscess.
That abscess, moreover, required urgent treatment. The medical team placed the dog under sedation so that the operation could begin and then shaved and cleaned the area around the abscess. Now they could lance the growth and drain it of blood and fluids.
After ensuring that they’d removed all the pus that they could, the team then cleaned the resulting cavity. In addition, they made a large incision in the canine’s face and inserted a drainage pipe. This meant that any excess fluid could escape in future after they had stitched the dog back together.
Within time, the dog awoke from his slumber. And the difference that his surgery had made was easy to see. Gone was his puffy face – and the medical staff could now make out his jawline clearly for the first time.
And just two weeks later, the animal had been completely transformed. In fact, video footage posted to YouTube showed him fully recovered and in good health. His swelling had also receded, revealing his beautiful face as a consequence.
And while the dog had refused to be touched when he was first rescued, he now loved being fussed over. Staff would indulge the animal with strokes and cuddles, and he appeared to adore the attention.
“In just two weeks he had fully healed,” an Animal Aid Unlimited representative confirmed. “[He] is now so handsome and happy! Thank you for supporting our rescues and helping us save lives.”
And since the footage of the dog’s rescue emerged online, it has proven to be immensely popular. In fact, nearly four million people have tuned in to watch the animal’s transformation.
What’s more, many of the video’s viewers couldn’t resist adding their thoughts in the comments section. “The poor little guy still wagged his tail at the beginning, even in pain,” one user wrote. “Man, it breaks your heart. It’s good that there are people like the ones in Animal Aid.”
“I love these people,” another commenter added. “You all are amazing. That dog would have just got worse and to see him free of that pain and being loved and cared for is so deserving.”
We don’t know exactly where the dog went after his recovery. However, it’s likely that Animal Aid Unlimited released him back onto the streets. Unfortunately, the organization doesn’t have the resources to house every dog that it treats at its sanctuary. Still, the more it can release, the more it can help in the long run.