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Fox Family [publisher's letter]

Publisher Tracy Patterson with her dog sitting in the desert resting up from a hike

Tracy Patterson

When I saw the cover for this edition, I couldn’t help thinking about the foxes on our horse ranch. The first year we moved in, so did a family of red foxes. Mom and dad fox chose a location under one of our buildings across our large backyard area, and they returned to this location each spring. Shortly after, a litter of kits would arrive.

It was a lot of fun watching these babies grow, and seeing the dynamics between them and their parents. They were more like kittens than puppies (perhaps why they’re called kits?), and life was all about playing. A few stories that I recall…

I went out one day to feed the horses, and one of our 2-year-old geldings, CruzRobin, was laying down. I looked a little closer, and a kit was stalking his tail! Cruz would swish his tail a little, and the kit would crouch and get a little closer. Then suddenly, he pounced and grabbed a little hair, and Cruz just shook his tail again and the kit took off. Then he was back, stalking again… It was hilarious watching the kit, and also the horse—he wasn’t fazed at all by this, and didn’t even get up!

One day, I looked out the front window and another 2-year-old gelding, Galahad, was playing with one of the young foxes! He would follow her, then she would follow him. I thought at first that the colt was just curious (which, of course, he was), and the fox was hoping that Galahad would stir up a mouse as he walked through the grass, but it went on for a while, and there was no mistaking that this was play.

The kits loved to explore the yard—the fire pit, the raised flower beds, and even the deck. We had the odd occasion where we would look out our glass front door onto the deck, and a kit would be up on the deck looking in at us!

And our big tractor tire hay feeders were an endless source of fun. Those kits would jump in and out of them, one hiding inside and popping out at another—what a blast!

Even though these foxes were wild and we tried not to interfere with them (didn’t feed them, for one), we were grateful that they chose our ranch to live and raise their young. They provided daily entertainment, and a great addition to our ranch family.

Happy Thanksgiving!