Attempt to save a baby fox - Empty Nest by Curt Swarm


Lorrilee McCall-Miller heard something outside their door as she was getting ready for bed.  It sounded like a baby crying.  She opened the door and looked.  There was a baby fox, a kit, looking up at her and whimpering.  “What do we have here?”  Lorrilee asked.  She knew enough to not try and pick it up.  “Where's your mamma?”

The little kit just looked at her and shivered. 

Lorrilee didn't want to, but she shut the door.  Hopefully the kit's mother would come in the night for her baby. 

In the morning, Lorrilee checked again.  The kit was still there, like a lost kitten.  She summoned her husband, Tim Miller.  Their two dogs were quite curious as to what was going on outside, but Lorrilee and Tim kept the dogs at bay.   

Something needed to be done.  The Millers called the Southeast Iowa Wildlife Rescue Alliance (SIWRA). 

A friendly female voice, Robin, told her that someone would be out later in the morning to deal with the lost kit.

Lorrilee McCall-Miller is the art director and, with her husband, Tim, owner of the Mt. Pleasant Main Street Art Center.  Living on a farm in rural Mt. Union, and being animal lovers, they are quite familiar with wildlife sightings such as deer, turkey, pheasants, rabbits, coyotes, hawks, eagles, etc.  Baby foxes are rare but not that unusual.  Their cuteness makes you want to pick them up and cuddle them.  But that's a no-no.  You can get bit. 

Later in the day, SIWRA let Lorrilee know that the kit was safe and sound and, on their way to the Miller farm, SIWRA had seen what was probably the kit's sibling dead in the road.  The mother may have been hit too, so the kit was probably an orphan.  SIWRA would care for it.  Lorrilee and Tim were thankful and made a decision to donate to SIWRA.

Xrays revealed that the kit had also been hit by a vehicle.  He was sleeping almost constantly and showing no interest in food or water.  Veterinarian, Dr. Jana, reported there were contusions on its lungs and the excessive sleepiness indicated a possible concussion.

Lorrilee is an avid Facebook user, and this kit rescue was played out on Facebook.  There was a huge outpouring of concern, sympathy and love for the cute kit and its recovery.

Sadly, the kit did not make it.  Lorrilee posted SIWRA's condolences on Facebook.  “Not the outcome we were hoping for, but the sweet lil kit gained his wings early this morning.  This is just one example of how difficult rehabbing can be.  Despite his overall appearance and lack of visible injuries, X-rays showed that he had suffered some type of blunt force.  Everyone involved gave 110%.  Robin is heart broken.  We never feel good when an animal doesn't make it.  His life was short, but he wasn't shivering in a ditch all alone.  Thank you Lorrilee, Robin and Dr. Jana for going the extra mile for this baby.”   

SIWRA's Mission Statement: “Southeast Iowa Wildlife Rescue Alliance was founded in 2016 by a small group of Southeast Iowa wildlife rehabilitators and others who shared their love of wildlife to facilitate the availability of the care and rehabilitation of injured and orphaned wildlife and also to educate the public on the availability of wildlife rehabilitators and promote the peaceful coexistence between man and wildlife.  We also strive to show how wildlife is part of our heritage, our culture and the heart of America.  By supporting our local wildlife rehabilitators, we help sustain a valuable legacy for future generations.” 

Their website is  SIWRA is a 501(c)(3) non profit organization dedicated to supporting the efforts of state licensed volunteer wildlife rehabilitators.  They need volunteers,  They need financial support. 

Have a good story?  Call or text Curt Swarm in Mt. Pleasant at 319-217-0526, find him on Facebook, email him at, or visit his website at

Curt Swarm, editorial, Empty Nest, Mt. Pleasant, opinion, Pen City Current, weekly


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