Sanctuary Stories

The Fox Who Was Saved Because He Was Different

For foxes on fur farms in Minnesota, abnormalities are a blessing — because the farmers know who to call

Published in
5 min readAug 22, 2019


Photos: Save a Fox

Mikayla Raines knows that in order to continue saving foxes from the fur industry, she has to remain respectful of fur farmers — as tough as that may be. Near her Minnesota-based sanctuary, Save a Fox, there are numerous fur farms, and when they have foxes they can’t or won’t use, fur farmers will often give her a call. And she’s grateful.

It’s a perhaps odd relationship, but it’s a very effective one, and it’s how one special fox, Valentine, who would have otherwise been destined for death, ended up at Save a Fox, alive and adorable.

Valentine arrived at Save a Fox when he was a year old, after it was discovered he had a genetic deformity called Gingiva Hyperplasia, meaning his gums never stop growing, requiring annual surgery to be trimmed. “When the foxes are born with those deformities, the fur farms don’t necessarily want to use those foxes for breeding again,” explains Raines. So, they call her. They call her when they have foxes who are sick or have deformities, have been rejected by their mother, or who are born with poor quality fur. “We have four foxes who were born without guard hairs. Most foxes have a double coat layer, and they need that double coat layer in order to be pelted [killed and skinned], for their fur to be useful.”

In other words, for foxes on fur farms in Minnesota, being born different is like winning the lottery.

“When you take the adult fur farm rescues who have had no socialization, have lived in a wire cage their whole life, they’re aggressive, because they’ve never been touched, they’ve never known love.”