Wednesday, 26 October 2011

A sad end

There are times when things seem settled and pleasant that fate just sets up a situation to remind you of mortality and the pain of life. Last night standing at the new bridge watching the autumn colours on a balmy (what should have been summer) evening such a situation was about to occur. A chap I had met watching the owls arrived and we chatted. No doubt by the copious amounts of guff I was churning out he unmasked me as the PC Wanderer, introduced himself as Harry, then went on his way in search of said owls. I later followed him up the road to find him with binoculars trained, staring into the ditch. He pointed out the terrible subject of his curiosity. A Fox hung upside down in the wire mesh fence Its brush was clearly visible as was the damaged remains of its rear leg. Worse still, Harrys attention had been drawn by it thrashing about and after a few moments of watching the poor beast again moved. It bit the timber fence post and no doubt had taken a similar gruesome option on its trapped leg as the foot was missing. We phoned around trying to get the number for the RSPCA which Harry eventually did (0300 1234999). After an age on hold which must have cost Harry a few bob they eventually answered and the situation explained. They thankfully said they would attend and we waited, Harry returning to the crossroads to direct them.

I stood in the fading gloom with the still silent Fox a dozen yards away and thought of famous rescues and a three legged Fox but in reality knew this was not the going to be the outcome. The Short eared Owls had appeared as they had for the last four nights on the stroke of 18.15 being too dark for even a decent sighting never mind photograph. Now in total dark illuminated only by the glow of Newcastle and its Airport, Ducks flew in to the pond, Redwing tseeped overhead and Little owl and Buzzard also called.

After what seemed an age Harry and the RSPCA lady made their way up the bumpy road and we located the stricken animal with the torches they had brought. Edging along the ditch we got close and the Fox started to struggle ar the torchlight fell upon it. I feared it would tear the leg away from the fence and disappear off into the night to die a lingering death but it was stuck fast and clearly had been for some time. The body however was free to pivot and with the fence there was no way to cover its head. We managed to wedge it against the cage which had been brought in hope and the RSPCA lady succeeded getting hold of the animal and administered the lethal dose. The young dog Fox however was full of life and adrenalin and still resisted strongly clamping its teeth to the fence wire. I clumsily took the wire cutters to the fence and after what seemed an age the animal was released but the drugs had taken their course and it had slipped into the oblivion that awaits us all.
Thankfully it suffered no more and was saved from a night, and possibly longer given its energy, of torment. Harry, the RSPCA lady and I thanked each other and I returned gloomily home along the bumpy road. The stars were out and if I was clever I maybe could have found the constellation of the Fox but all I saw was a fuzzy Jupiter rising in the East.


  1. We all know things like this happen but got to admit it still brought a lump to my throat.