Touring family of foxes get up close and personal at school

A family of foxes is on tour around schools in the South-East.

Patsy Gibbons with his pet foxes Grainne, Minnie and Henry. Picture: Dylan Vaughan.

The Co Kilkenny man, who lives a couple of miles outside Thomastown, started off minding a vixen, a female fox he calls Gráinne, seven years ago. However, that number has grown to three as people around the country are turning to him to care for animals they find injured.

“The foxes, Gráinne, Minnie, who is five-years-old, and 11-month-old Henry, named after star hurler Henry Shefflin, do get a lot of attention from the children living around here, and now primary schools are asking me to bring them along so the students can see them at first-hand. It’s keeping me very busy.

“I never set out to have pet foxes. It just happened. I ended up looking after Gráinne since she was only seven-weeks-old. My brother-in-law found her in a box looking for heat in a storeroom close to Columba’s Hospital in Thomastown.

“My brother-in-law said we should try to do something as she was so thin. I took her to the local vet and so I just continued on caring for her and haven’t stopped.

“Minnie was brought to me as month-old pup after a woman found her in Kilmaganny as word began to spread that I was already looking after Grainne. And Henry, was brought to me by a man living in the nearby town of Graiguenamanagh after he was attacked by a dog.

An animal lover, Patsy says three foxes, 28 hens, 12 ducks, two dogs and two cats are more than enough to look after and he isn’t planning on expanding his brood anytime soon.

“I now have people from all over the country and indeed the UK asking me for advice on looking after foxes. I’m no expert and I’m still learning from them day-by-day. I’m happy to advise as a lay person,” he says.


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