Having grown up as a child in the countryside, every Boxing Day my mind wanders back to the sound of the hunter’s horn and the, supposedly now banned, blood sport of hunting foxes with dogs. It’s always revolted me. Now even with the ban, how many foxes are ‘accidentally’ killed during the lawful pursuit of drag hunting?

Living now in a city I never imagined that I’d develop a new relationship with foxes. In our steep and rambling garden, we have all manner of birds, occasional hedgehogs, squirrels, a badger and most recently a family of foxes. Over the last year we’ve seen a vixen wash her cub, we’ve seen the cub growing up and laughed when on a bright sunny day, we’ve seen it chasing playfully after butterflies!

But recently we were shocked to see that beautiful young now adolescent fox succumb to the dreaded mange. It’s a pitiful affliction that affects the dog species, untreated it’s generally fatal with the poor animal scratching itself to death.

The internet is a wonderful thing and through it we found a source of medicine. But how to get the medicine to the fox? If we laced some pet food with the medicine what would stop our cats from eating it? The solution turned out to be simple: Foxes love sweet things, cats don’t. Every night for a month we put out a slice of bread generously topped with strawberry jam with a sprinkling of the medicine. We borrowed a night time infra-red camera and I’m pleased to say the young fox is now healthy again.

Which brings me back to my childhood haunting sounds of fox hunting. Some talk of bringing it back, with MP’s from a certain political party offering a ‘free vote’ on bringing back the so-called sport of killing foxes. Those MPs would do well to remember that we are a nation of animal lovers.