Pax by Sarah Pennypacker, 276 pages.
When his father goes off to war, young Peter agrees out of necessity to return his pet fox, Pax, to the wild, but immediately regrets his decision. Left with his grandfather, a man who seems to have no love for him, Peter decides to run away, after Pax, and then back home. He embarks on a quest to recover his best friend without too much planning, and runs into trouble fairly soon. Vola, a wounded war veteran, grudgingly offers assistance. Despite injury and delay, Peter is determined to be reunited with Pax. Pax, who is telling his side of the story, tries to stay alive and deal with the wild world as he waits to be reunited with Peter.
A bit didactic, and though it is lacking in wizards, mythological creatures, or vampires, Pax is a decent story.