updated 04/25/2014 AT 12:00 PM ET
•originally published 04/25/2014 AT 4:30 PM ET
When Ralph Shopland and his family discovered a sickly baby pup abandoned by a lake in Yukon, Canada, they knew they had to help it. So, they scooped it up and set out to find the pooch a surrogate mother.
“I just defaulted to thinking it was a dog,” Shopland told CBC News. “We needed to get it attended to because we don’t have that capability. I’m not a mommy.”
As it turns out, the pup wasn’t a pup either. Officials at the Yukon Wildlife Preserve say they’re pretty sure the little animal is a male fox, due in part to the white tips on its tail. But they won’t definitively be able to say until it grows a bit more. And thanks to regular 3-hour bottle feedings, it’s getting stronger everyday.
“It seems like he is well hydrated and active,” said preserve spokeswoman Maria Hallock. “He doesn’t cry between meals so that means he isn’t hungry. He’s getting enough milk. I only had him for a day and a half and he gained six grams since yesterday.”
Officials believe the fox’s mother was likely hit by a car before Shopland found him. Once the fox pup is old enough, the preserve will find a home for him in captivity since he’s now been in contact with humans.
Click below to see footage of the teeny-weeny baby animal.