We received an unusal call on Sunday evening regarding a dog. Nothing strange there, you might say, but this was no routine call.
A farming family had noticed a dog on their land and immediately thought it might be a stray dog.
They went to investigate and found she was living in an old fox den.
As soon as she heard them approach she went into flight mode and ran. She was extremely frightened and disappeared into the distance.
On looking further they noticed that she was not alone and was raising a litter of pups.
They were unsure of how many at first as they ran straight down into the den.
The family couldn’t believe what they had found. They went home and gathered some food and fresh water for the canine family and laid it beside the entrance of the den that was their home. They then called us for advice and assistance.
I received the call and was a little shocked also, I have heard of this happening but have never encountered it before.
Brid and I called out the next day to come up with a plan to bring the family back to the shelter where they would be safe. When we got there we had to cross two fields before we reached the den.
We spotted the mother of the puppies in the distance, a small cocker spainel cross, but as soon as she spotted us she just ran away.
Tara, the lady who was feeding them, had managed to catch three pups before we arrived. She was able to then tell us that three others remained in the den. We aged the puppies at around six weeks.
The next day, Brid went back out to site after another puppy was caught. A humane dog trap and a cat trap were set to catch the mother and the other two remaining puppies. They were thankfully trapped quickly.
The family of seven were then reunited at the shelter. What we can gather from the situation is that mother was most likely dumped while pregnant or got pregnant soon after been dumped. Her instincts kicked in and she went in search of a safe place to have her little family. She found the disused den and gave birth.
There she took care of them and fed her family by catching rabbits and birds. We found lots of evidence of this around the den.
This superb mother did everything she could to raise her family and has done a great job giving the difficult situation she found herself in.
She is very nervous of people and must of have been extremely mistreated in the past. It will take time and lots of TLC to win her around but we will give her all the time she needs. The puppies are being handled as much as possible and will be much easier to win around.
We would like to thank Sarah, Tara and their family for helping this family and without them this story would of had totally different out come.
We will keep you updated on their progress.