The popular Disney film ‘The Fox and the Hound’ has been brought to life by a vixen and a bulldog.
Marley, a 6-month-old vixen, has found an unlikely buddy for life in sweet Ernie – a four-year-old pooch – after she was rescued when she was only two weeks old.
The vixen cub was then given to Pauline Ashanolla, who dedicates her time saving animals. As she nurses the fox back to health, he has seen an unusual friendship blossom between her dog Ernie and Marley.
“They do everything together, they’re inseparable. They play with each other all day, they sleep together every night, they go for walks together,” Pauline shared.
After receiving a call from her friends in April to say they had rescued a vixen cub, Pauline did not think twice to help out.
For the next six weeks, she had to syringe-feed kitten milk to the malnourished cub every 90 minutes.
“Marley was so poorly when we found her. She was throwing up worms, really big ones, they were longer than her. She definitely would have died if she’d been found just 15 minutes later,” Pauline shared.
“After the first course of medication, it was clear she just wasn’t getting better so she ended up on medication for four months. I’ve had so much help and advice from vets and fox rescues but it has been a big, big commitment looking after her.
“I’m very tired. She has aged me about 10 years and I had to give up my dream job because this little fox came along but it’s all been worth it to see her so happy and healthy.
“I love her to bits, she is always happy and very loving. When she gets excited, she can be crazy. She’s very chatty and makes lots of weird noises.”
“Ernie was terrified of Marley at first and she didn’t like him but she slowly started sleeping closer to him. After I’d had her about three weeks, they started playing together,” Pauline said.
“One day they just started running around together and they have been best friends ever since. They do everything together, they’re inseparable. They play with each other all day, they sleep together every night, they go for walks together.”
“If I take Ernie out for a walk without Marley, she gets so excited when he gets home. She goes mad, she absolutely loves him. It’s so nice seeing how well they’ve bonded, it’s quite an unusual friendship.
“It’s like the real-life The Fox and the Hound. Ernie is so gentle and sweet with her, he looks like a little bruiser but he’s actually a big baby.”
As much as Pauline loves Marley, she doesn’t want to encourage people to find foxes and keep them as pets.
“Some people might think it’s cruel that I’ve kept Marley but she is happy. She was so young when I rescued her that she knows no different, she’s not a wild fox,” she expressed.
“She imprinted on me, she thinks I’m her mum. Then she had to be on medication for so long that I can’t release her. If she went back into the wild now there is no way she would survive.”
She added: “But I definitely don’t think foxes should be pets. I don’t want people to see that I have a fox and think they should do the same.
“If you like your house the way it is, you definitely don’t want a fox. Marley has trashed my house. Foxes are very destructive and they’re smelly.”
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