A few months ago on a bright, sunny but chilly Sunday morning, we had a visitor. Outside the glass patio doors that lead from our dining kitchen to the garden, there is a small area of wooden decking. And on that morning on the decking, we had a visitor, a wild dog fox.
It seems that in many towns and cities in the UK, foxes routinely scavenge for scraps after dark. They have learned two things about human animals: that they are best avoided in daylight hours and that they are a good source of edible scraps. Like their country cousins, urban foxes have to fend for themselves. These days when CCTV is everywhere, foxes are seen regularly on camera in the unlikeliest of urban habitats. Let’s face it, even scavengers have to live. But they are invariably scruffy and unkempt and generally are regarded as vermin.
Our visitor was the very opposite. When I looked up from my corn flakes and saw him standing there, just six feet away, I was astonished. He was big, really big, in size somewhere between a Doberman and a Great Dane. His coat was clean and in perfect condition and his eyes were inquisitive and bright. But the most amazing thing about this beautiful creature was his attitude. He stood still for about half a minute, examining us through the glass door.
Did I detect a look of pity for the humans trapped behind the glass? Perhaps. He, on the other hand, was free. His curiosity satisfied, he turned and, in no hurry at all, loped away into the garden.
Never before in all the years that we have been here had we seen a fox, never mind one almost close enough to touch. Thank you, mister fox. It was a privilege to meet you.