Cas, the arctic fox, took his first adventure outside of Animal Wonders yesterday. He went to the vet for his first set of vaccines. Cas was great in his crate on the 30 minute drive into town. When we were shown into our room we opened the crate door to allow him to venture out on his own. Sometimes the smells at a veterinary office can be alarming to some animals, so we like to allow the animal to find their own comfort level at their own pace. Cas was nervous at first but eventually took a few steps out of the crate. He was soon so comfortable he had thoughts of jumping down to the floor to check out more of the room. But instead of allowing him to take the leap we took the time to work on his behavior training.
Cas sometimes doesn't like to be touched, this is most likely because he was not handled enough in the first few weeks of his life. He arrived at Animal Wonders at 7 weeks old and that's actually a lot of time for a fox kit. They develop quickly and the weeks from 5-7 are crucial to expose them to as many things as possible. Cas, is learning from Seraphina, the red fox, and also Augusto and myself that human interaction leads to happy endings. He knows that when he hears a tutting he will get a treat if he comes running. He also knows that when he's held he should be calm and not try to bite. But he's still learning that it's okay to be touched while he on the ground or picked up from the inside of a crate. At these times he gets nervous and growls and even try to nip. So as we waited for the vet to come in, we spent some time calmly touching Cas as he lounged in front of his crate.
We ended up waiting over an hour; there was an emergency surgery, and Cas fell asleep! At least we know that he's easy going enough to stay calm in a new environment with new smells and strange sounds. Cas had a perfect exam and he didn't even flinch when he got his vaccines. He'll be taking the trip back to the vet in a month for his booster and rabies shots.