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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Of Foxes and Teenagers

Miehiera the arctic fox.
The following was written by a friend of mine, Alynn, who writes a blog about her fox Miehiera. I get a lot of e-mails from teenagers who love foxes and want to get one for a pet, so I wanted to give you guys the perspective of a teen who has been there and gotten her fox.

Hold off.

I am about the same age as you (I turned 14 this year) and in the same situation. I got my fox the summer that would between my 8th and 9th grade year (I skipped a grade).

To be honest, if I could do it all over I would have waited until I was out on my own or at least had a job. I had to pay for everything, and without a job this was incredibly hard. I am taking her to the vet and spending all my savings to do that just to get her checked up.

I have to rely on my parents a lot for additional expenses and for transportation. Rather than be able to expand her kennel right away, I have to slowly save up. This would be so much easier if I had a job.

I'm a full time college student. I just finished a semester with 14 credit hours.
We have a lot of financial strain that I didn't foresee when we put down the deposit.
None of this I have any control over.

I just really don't have control. I can't go out and just get her more panels. I can't just drive her to the vet if there's a problem. I do get very busy and I have to admit Miehiera does not get as much attention as she deserves.
There's also the problem that I don't know where I'm going to be in the next five years, meanwhile Miehiera is probably going to live for another 15.

I say you need to wait until you're AT LEAST 16 and you can pay for the expense of the fox.
I would not get the fox unless your parents pushed for it first. If your parents are like mine, they're not going to spend the money unless they absolutely need to. You're going to have to pay for everything.

You might be looking at my post and think, "Yeah, I can pay for things! I can handle this!" Well, that's what I thought. I love Miehiera to death, she's my world. Nothing more uplifting than after a long, hard day going outside to see a fox screaming, wiggling, wagging their tail and running all up and down their pen in sheer joy just to see you. However, I have a lot of stress in my life and Miehiera is suffering because she doesn't get the time or the immediate care she deserves. I definitely admit I was not ready for her in hindsight. But I have her now, and by getting her I made her the promise that I would take care of her.

Please, wait until you're at least 16. It would be a lot better if you waited until you're out of college or at least to a point in your life that you know where you're going to be for the next 20 years. I don't know where I'm going to be in five.

I'm not saying it won't work out for you because I am having a hard time, but if you're really determined I would save up at least $5000, not including the expense of the fox itself. The vet bills, the food, the toys, the kennel - it adds up quick and you need money for a rainy day, because things do come up.

If you REALLY want to work with foxes, I would recommend finding a sanctuary with foxes. That will give you invaluable experience. You may even be able to find fox owners near you, or find a breeder. Find an exotic vet to volunteer for. There are lots of zoos that will have summer camps for kids your age. I found one here in Michigan, I think you could find one in Lousiana. I even believe that going to an exotic animal swap meet/auction (I think there is one in Lousiana) you can see some foxes and perhaps talk to breeders.

I spent a year researching, saving and so on and that didn't even prepare me totally!
I do take good care of my girl and love her to death, even if she doesn't get all the attention she deserves. For her sake and mine though, I wish I had waited until I was absolutely sure of where I was going to be in the next 10 years.

If you have to get a permit, that can be tricky too. Because I am not old enough to own an animal, legally Miehiera belongs to my father. All of her health records and documentation is in my name. This was confusing to work out with my breeder and my vet. And if anything ever happens to cause us to get in trouble with the law (say, she bites someone, which I don't allow her to be visited by many people anyway), my dad's head is the one on the table. I legally can not take responsibility and that bothers me. If you get a permit, your parents are going to have to be the ones to apply for it. It's really frustrating to have to have someone represent you like that, and it's best to wait until you're old enough to take direct responsibility for the animal itself.

Overall, unless your parents really want the fox too and are willing to pay for every expense and help you care for it, I wouldn't go for it. Spend the next couple of years getting experience, mulling things over and saving up money.


  1. Wait, I have a question... Alynn wrote this post, and is 14... and "just finished a semester of college"? Did she just accidentally hit "1" instead of "2" or is she a child genius? I'm being sincere here, I'm just confused.

    1. I agree =S I'm impressed with her writing skills, too.

    2. I believe she may be from the UK and referring to what Americans call High School? I have heard the term college meaning high school in the UK before...

    3. We have first school, middle school, high school college then university, she will be 16 to finish high school, she's American as she mentioned summer camp, Louisiana and other states and something about credit honours? We don't have them
      p.s I'm from UK :) she also said that in the summer she was 8th 9th grade?
      Maybe she has a college course one day a week.. I'm not sure..

  2. Being a teenager that absolutely wants a fox, I can honestly say I am NOT ready for one, and wont be for years, decades even. I know I want a fox, I love foxes, they're so adorable, smart, clever, and awesome. But I have no experience and no money to pay for one. So I agree with Alynn, I'm going to wait until I'm in a stable position, and I urge everyone else to do the same.

  3. I'm almost 20, and yet I know I'm still not ready for a fox. Mainly because I live in Pennsylvania.

  4. Haha, I didn't even realize you had posted this until I came to check one of your articles.

    @MariaDay, I am 14 and in college. I am dual enrolled, AKA taking college classes at the same time as high school classes, and many of the college classes I am taking count for high school credit.

    Some more info:

    Thanks for the post Rags. =)

    1. haha i am 17 and taking DE classes also, i will start college as a junior, i allready have my assosciates degree. I have around 3 grand saved up (strictly to buy a fox, i allready have a car and i have other money) when i finish college and get a place of my own, i will definitley get a pet red fox... Just need to wait it out! hopefully i wont be too tempted...

  5. I want an arctic fox but don't know where to get one I am 20 and have my own place and make over 75000 a year I know money is no issue but I need help finding one I also live in Colorado ro I need to keep it low profil any ideas?

    1. Sadly, it is not legal to own any kind of fox in Colorado...

    2. Please do your research before buying a domesticated fox. They are more work and expense than you would ever think. They are beautiful and intelligent animals and I really wish people would not take them to be a pet. I am raising my son's pet Arctic fox now and it has been a nightmare. He is a college student and clearly cannot provide a proper environment for her. I am trying to find a wildlife reserve now to take her so she can at least live somewhat of a normal life and still be cared for on a daily basis. When she was little it was manageable but now that she is six months old it is not. She has torn up the house as expected and bitten several people badly enough to require medical attention. I can never have her around children or cats etc since they can be very aggressive. Think hard before you buy a fox. All that domesticated means is that they do not fear humans. Make sure you understand that a fox has a very strong urine and fecal smell. It is much like a skunk so be prepared. I love Roxy and feel so sorry that she can never live in the wild as intended. Really think about it first.

    3. Maggie, please give this post a read. I think you might find it relevant to your situation:

  6. congrats on your dual courses. Very Proud to know youth doing that.
    Love this site also.
    We have a wild fox running around here constantly Most likely living in the ditch.
    He/She comes up on the porch around 3am & plays with the cans & bottles which wakes me up lol.
    But when I catch it I love seeing it. As it is so cute.

    There originally was around 5 but now only 1 that I have noticed these past few months.

    Wish you the best

  7. I'm 13 and really wish to own a pet fox. I live in Tennessee and I believe foxes are allowed there. I have 2,000 dollars saved to buy one. I know my mom will help out. I am in love with foxes and am gonna die if I don't have one. Seeing one run across the road makes my day. Owning a fox would make me so happy I'd never be upset again.

    1. Certain kinds of foxes are legal in TN but not all. I live in TN also and own a fox.

    2. Be careful though. Some can cost 1,000+ dollars. Also you need to give them lots of vet check-ups. Some of them smell badly, and my Dad had 2 before I was alive. He said they attracted big rats.

    3. Ahem, knowing that this is a late reply to this but anywho, moving on. I would hold on to that 2 grand for College. a fox can wait and if you're really as passionate for it when you're an adult than you'll save up the money again no problem whatsoever. It would be better to finish school, have a job, and a house and therefore a surefire way to provide for your fox and yourself than be in the exact same situation as the person who wrote this blog and is clearly floundering in the same position you want to put yourself in.

  8. I've been planning to get a red fox at 19-23 yrs old currently I'm 15 and a freshman I LOVE FOXES!

  9. I am 13 and I have a fox. I said I would pay 200$ so I could keep him but I have a part time job as a baby sitter and animal watcher.

  10. Wait tell u get out of college and u have a house I have a fox he gets in everything like right now he is trying to eat my parrots food.he does not care about my parrot.

  11. Here are a few reson why u should think about getting a fox?
    I half to clean m room everyday after my fox.
    He gets in to everything
    Every time I am writing a song he grabs my note pad then he try's to eat my pen.
    Then when it comes to training he just leaves the room but he is so smart he can out smart me in a heart beat.
    And it is lots of money
    But I got him after his last owners broke up I was just going to find him another home but I fell in love with him he is the cuttest thing ever.

  12. Wow, what was creepy was when you said "I'm about the same age as you" and said you were 14, because I AM FOURTEEN. How did you KNOW????

  13. Maggie- where did you get your fox? I think it's important for fox lovers to pick the source of their fox carefully and make sure it is diligently tamed/domesticated from birth. I am not trying to say anyone did NOT do this, I am just curious because if I get a fox in the next 5 years I want to have an understanding of the sources out there. I am curious if there are trends from certain breeders, although each fox has it's own personality.

  14. She was 14 when she got her fix she is now in college you guys need help with your reading skills

  15. Can I translate you article and post it to chinese PETFOX BBS please? this really helps a lot, thank you.


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