When Pauline Ashanolla welcomed Marley, a six-month-old fox, into her home, she braced herself for the uncertain reactions from her resident dogs. The initial apprehension, especially from her bulldog Ernie, hinted at a potentially challenging integration of the new species into the household.
Concerns lingered in Ashanolla’s mind, but as time unfolded, so did an unexpected bond between Marley and her canine companions. Recounting the early days, Ashanolla shared Ernie’s initial fear and Marley’s apparent disapproval, but a gradual transformation began to take shape.
“After about three weeks, they started playing together”, Ashanolla revealed. “One day, they just began running around together, and ever since, they’ve become inseparable best friends.”
Describing the current dynamics, she expressed the depth of their connection. “They do everything together, play all day, sleep side by side every night, and embark on walks as a trio”, she added.
Ashanolla, an animal enthusiast hailing from the English Isle of Wight, found Marley when the fox was a mere two weeks old. A couple from her community had discovered the abandoned cub in April and brought her to Ashanolla’s care, leading her to relinquish her dream of becoming a dog groomer to attend to the fox’s needs.
Recalling Marley’s condition upon arrival, Ashanolla painted a vivid picture of the fox covered in flies and ticks, with worms infesting her body. Swift action was crucial, as Marley’s survival hung in the balance. “She would have died if she had been discovered 15 minutes later,” Ashanolla emphasized.
The journey to nurse Marley back to health spanned six weeks, during which Ashanolla dedicated herself to round-the-clock care. Syringe-feeding the fox with kitten milk every 90 minutes, administering medications for worms and ticks, and seeking guidance from veterinarians and fox rescues became the norm.
“After the first course of medication, it was clear she just wasn’t getting better”, Ashanolla explained. “She ended up on medication for four months. Caring for her has been a huge commitment, and I’ve received a lot of help and advice, but it’s been exhausting. She has aged me about ten years, and I had to give up my dream job because of her. However, it’s all been worth it to see her so happy and healthy.”
Beyond the challenges, Ashanolla has found joy in witnessing the flourishing friendship between Marley and Ernie, a testament to the resilience of bonds formed in the unlikeliest circumstances.