Imagine if you were walking home in the early hours of the morning after an evening out with friends and you saw a fox get injured by a speeding car…

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Imagine if the car didn’t stop and the fox wasn’t instantly killed, but managed to drag itself off the road. One of the fox’s back legs were limp. What would you do? Would you continue with your journey and leave the fox to its own business? The RSPCA recommends that if an injured wild animal is found, watch it for a short while to find out how badly hurt it really is. Then either contact the RSPCA on 0300 1234 999 or find a vet or wildlife rehabilitator nearby. If possible, the RSPCA recommends that the animal is contained before calling for assistance.

Just imagine if you were a part of this scenario ……

The car that hit the fox didn’t stop, but another car travelling in the opposite direction whose female driver observed the collision did stop. As did you and another male pedestrian on their way home. You were all strangers to each other.
The driver and her partner got out of the car and she happened to have the number for the RSPCA programmed in her phone. She set about trying to contact someone in the organisation. As the fox had stopped at the side of the road, you and the other pedestrian watched for traffic passing by the injured fox and driver on the phone to the RSPCA. The drivers’ partner stood to one side, looking as if this was the kind of situation that his girlfriend regularly got herself into.

As it was the middle of the night, only a few cars passed by. Some drivers would slow down, winding down their windows, asking what had happened. Once you told them, some would give you a look of disgust – questioning why anyone would stop to help the injured fox. Other would glance over at the fox sympathetically. All of the drivers would then continue on their own journeys. Some people in the cars didn’t even slow down their vehicles – casting a quick glance over at whatever was happening at the side of the road but not wanting to get involved.

The driver couldn’t get an answer from anyone at the RSPCA and was concerned that the below freezing temperatures would be harmful to the fox, herself and her partner, the other pedestrian and you. You had all been hanging around for about 15 minutes. She made a suggestion that the fox should be wrapped and contained in a plastic-backed picnic blanket that she had in her car and transported to a RSPCA centre less than 10 minutes’ drive away.

The woman would drive her car, while her partner would keep trying to raise help on the phone. You would be in the back of the car with the fox and the other pedestrian.

Seeing the fox being hit by the speeding car was a shocking experience – and everyone seemed nervous about getting in a car together. After all, anyone of you could have been a psychotic serial killer. But if the fox wasn’t transported, it would have to be left at the side of the road where it would probably die in the freezing temperatures – unable to get to cover.
The fox was then wrapped and secured in the blanket. It was awake, but didn’t have much energy. Its beautiful dark eyes were darting around – obviously petrified after being hit then being wrapped up and put into a car by its predators.

Luckily, you ended up holding the body of the fox, while the fox’s head rested on the lap of the other pedestrian. The fox was completely secure and there was no chance of it escaping or biting the passengers in the car. Your hand was underneath its body and you could feel its beating heart through the blanket, strong and fast.

The partner of the driver managed to get through to someone at the RSPCA, but the staff member informed everyone that the local RSPCA centre was closed and wouldn’t receive any new admissions. There was nothing that the RSPCA could do for the fox.

The driver stopped the car and contacted her local veterinary clinic – but there was no answer. She was determined to find someone who would help the fox and suggested that we should take it to a Police Station. Both you and her partner suggested that the Police wouldn’t be interested in helping a fox – especially early on a Saturday morning when they would undoubtedly be very busy dealing with drunken people.

Regardless of you and her partners’ suggestions, she insisted on travelling to a Police Station. She started the car and you were all on the move again.

Barely 10 seconds later, you realised that you couldn’t feel the heartbeat of the fox anymore. You quietly raised your concerns with your fellow passengers. The suggestion was made to stop in a nearby park and take the fox out of the car to see if it had died.

The fox was then carried out into the field of the park and released from its bindings. It didn’t move and the fox’s eyes were closed. No one could find a heartbeat. Everyone stood in a circle around the fox and a moments silence fell upon the group.

You had all tried to help – but the fox was too badly injured and shocked. Everyone got back into the car. You and the other pedestrian were dropped off at the scene of the accident and the couple went on their way. You were only 3 minutes away from home and walked home with the other pedestrian because it transpired that he lived just a few houses from where you lived. Goodbyes were said and you both went into your own homes.

An eventful walk home after an evening out.

But if you were placed in such a situation – would you help? Would you trust people who you had only just met? Would it have made any difference if the injured animal was a domesticated pet such as a dog or cat? Or would you have ignored the animal and carried on walking?

What would you have done?

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