Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Oh, Deer!

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Having lived in the country for three years now, I've grown accustomed to seeing deer pass through our yard.  I love watching these gentle creatures eat and drink and rest.  For some reason, this spring and summer, there have been more deer in our area than in past years.

Most of the time, I see one or two does at a time.  They drink from the creek in the meadow.  They munch on grass on the hillside.  Several of them like to lay in the shade below our house.

Seeing a buck is rare, but recently, one buck has started coming around.  I wondered why, until we discovered that Mr. Buck loves eating bird seed from the feeder outside our front door.  Naturally, our dog, Lucy, is not happy about this; she lunges at the window and barks up a storm when he visits. 

But I love it.  Seeing does and bucks is such a treat. 

And last week, I was treated to a surprise. 

While Noah was napping one afternoon, I took the dogs out to go to the bathroom.  Usually, if I'm going out for the evening (say to the fire station or a friends' house), I'll run the dogs out to their yard and lock the gate.  But it was so darn hot that I just took them out to the front yard for a few minutes with the intent of walking them back into the house.

As I was stood in the driveway watching the dogs, I saw some movement in the dog yard. 

What's in there?  I thought.

I looked closer.

Is it a fox?  A skunk?  A dog?  

Then, I saw the spindly legs, the white spots, the big ears.   

Oh my gosh, it's a fawn!!

For several seconds, I got caught up in the excitement of seeing such a little deer close up. 

Then, my mama/animal lover instincts kicked in: Protect the baby.

I yelled to the dogs, "In the house.  Right now."

Amazingly, without hesitation, Lucy and Rudy turned and ran into the garage, never seeing the fawn.  (Clearly, God had a hand in that because usually they do not react to my commands so quickly.)

Now that the dogs were in the house, I could observe the fawn--from a distance, of course.

The little one ran straight into the wire fence, bounced off of it and then ran into it again.

After several failed attempts, she skittered along the perimeter of the fence, hoping to find a way out.

The fawn looked so frightened.

So little.

 So lost. 

The gate was open slightly--which is how she got in--but clearly, she was having trouble finding her way back to it.

I tried to decide what to do.  I didn't have much time as I was supposed to leave for dinner at the fire station in 20 minutes.  Noah was still asleep, but he'd be waking up from his nap anytime.

Let's open the gate all the way, I thought.

I walked toward the gate, looking around for any sign of the fawn's mom.  No sign of mom.  The fawn stopped running and looked straight at me, then turned around and ran away.  

I pulled open the gate and retreated to the garage.  There, I ruminated over what more I could do to help.  I remembered seeing a flyer for a fawn rescue in our area.  I googled Fawn Rescue + Placer County and the website for Kindred Spirits Fawn Rescue popped up.

I called the number and after a brief conversation, I was advised to: Open the gate.  Check.  Leave the fawn alone.  Check.  According to the woman at Kindred Spirits, the fawn would probably find her way out of the yard, and be reunited with her mom.  "If she's still in the dog yard at 8:00 p.m. (it was 4:30 then), call me back," said the woman.  Copy check.  

I hung up the phone and headed inside to get Noah up from his nap. 

By the time I came back out front 15 minutes later, the dog yard was empty.  There was no sign of the fawn.

Oh, good, I thought, relieved.  She found her way out.

But on the drive down to the fire station, I started wondering, "Did the fawn's mom find her?  Were they reunited?  Or is the fawn out wandering around looking for her?"

Fast forward to the next day: Noah and I were walking down the road to pick up our trash can.  As we turned from our street onto the main road, I glanced off to the left looking for oncoming cars.  There, I spotted a doe and her fawn crossing the road.  Presumably, the same fawn who found her way into our dog yard and then out of our dog yard.

I smiled.

"Look," I said to Noah, kneeling down next to his blue car and pointing toward the deer.  "Mama and baby are together again...just as it should be."

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