Red Fox

by Charles McGrath

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In the world of humor we had many Red's. We had Red Skelton, Red Buttons and of course Redd Foxx.

But how many people from Newark knew that in 1969 Newark had its own "Red Fox "?

When I was a young boy growing up in Newark It seemed that I had just about every domesticated animal. When I reached adulthood I brought it to another level. I entered into the ownership of wild animals. I would bring them to the "Animal Clinic" on Sandford Avenue for both shots and miscellaneous veterinary care.

It was an education for both the Veterinarian and myself. Both of us would pour over his books on what and how to treat the animal. I’m sure I added to his day by not having to deal with just dogs and cats. His clinic was nothing but a storefront with two railroad rooms. The waiting room was in the front and the examination room in the rear. There was no back door. The front door was the only way out. The full time job of this Veterinarian was working in the slaughterhouses in Newark inspecting the animals. His evening job was running the "Animal Clinic ". He was a very nice man and he was educated in the Ukraine. We had problems understanding each other at times because of the accents.

One day when I visited him he told me he recently had the scare of his life. He told me some guy called an asked if he treated lions. He initially thought it was I and said sure. The guy said he would be right over. The more the Vet thought about it the more he realized that it wasn't my voice or a joke. He thought to himself what would he do if a lion was brought into his clinic and started to act like a lion. There was only one exit and that was through the front door. With that he locked the front door and fled to his car parked across the street. He said within a couple of minutes a station wagon pulled up with a lion in the back. A man got out and walked over to the front door. When he found it locked he looked around and then got back into his car and drove off.

He felt very much relived when he saw his next patient. I had this animal flown from Racine, WI. into Newark Airport. It was the same color as the lion but much smaller and younger. It was a six-week-old kit. A kit as I'm sure many people know is a baby fox.

I allowed him to become part of our family and we affectionately called him Red. I kept this animal until he bit one of my five daughters. With that my wife made me get rid of him. I gave him to Bernstein (sp?) he was a Newark councilman and he also ran the animal shelter on Green Street. The fox stayed there for about a year and was a big hit with the visiting school children. The last time I saw him he was a beautiful animal and I played with him like I would with a family dog.

Shortly after my visit he was released into the forest of Pennsylvania.

But for approximately one year Newark had its own "Red Fox".

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