Some time ago Zoe, our little nine-pound Japanese Chin, suffered an eye injury. Actually, I did not notice a problem with her right eye until it turned a strange, cloudy blue hue. I took her to the veterinarian, who prescribed an ointment and said it was definitely painful for her as the wound was a puncture and not just an abrasion. She had poked or gouged her eye on something. No telling what it was. Dogs with bulging eyeballs often have accidents affecting their vision. I told the vet I hadn’t even noticed a problem until her eye became blue, and that maybe she did seem a little more sedate lately. She had not cared to go outside with me, which was unusual. Zoe is my little ranch hand. She is normally with me all day long when I am working outdoors.
After the vet visit, I took her home and applied the prescribed ointment four times each day. Though she did not much like it, Zoe would tolerate the process of me squirting a glob of ointment near her eyelid and gently rubbing it into her eye by opening and closing the upper and lower eyelids. Using this method, the ointment easily melted in.
A couple of weeks later, though Zoe’s eye was still blue, she had returned to her spunky, playful self, so I knew she was feeling better. One afternoon, I had let the trio of Chin outside for a romp when Daisy showed up in the front yard nibbling on henbit and vetch weeds. Zoe was sitting by herself, facing the breeze and looking off into the distance. Daisy walked right up to Zoe and appeared to be sniffing her. For a long time she lingered near Zoe’s right eye, and I soon realized she was gently licking the eye! All around Zoe’s eye she licked, and Zoe seemed to enjoy the attention, sitting calmly with a dreamy look. When Daisy felt she had done a sufficient job, she simply walked on, proceeding with her weed eating.
Thinking about this, I remembered the term “Deer Medicine” had been mentioned by a Native American friend sometime back. We were discussing what purpose Daisy might have in our lives… what she was here to show us or teach us. I did a little research that indicated deer represented the power of gentleness to touch the hearts and minds of wounded beings; healing wounds with gentleness of spirit. Superficially, that made sense. Perhaps Daisy was intuitive and, realizing Zoe’s eye was injured, she applied her saliva as a soothing salve of nature’s antibiotic to heal Zoe’s wounded eye. But reading on, I discovered a much deeper purpose of deer medicine, and that perhaps was directed to me.
Deer teach us how powerful it is to be of gentle demeanor, to exert keen observation and sensitivity. Deer are in tune with nature and all it comprises. Even when grazing, the deer are constantly watchful, fully aware and alert of what is going on all around them. They travel through field and forest with deliberateness and clarity, mindful of the herd and the young fawns they nurture and protect. Watching the deer and their young is a reminder to stand strong on the path, be alert and aware at all times, and not allow oneself to get distracted by outside influences. Observation of their ways also teaches us that one should honor and respect the spirit within and go about life with gentleness and an open heart.
I don’t know if Daisy’s medicine will heal the physical injury to Zoe’s eye, but her licking the wound was surely a comfort to Zoe’s spirit. As for Deer Medicine, when Daisy came into our lives last spring, I had no idea that I would need Daisy’s medicine more than anyone. During her raising, I observed her little ways and wondered at the life of a deer. I worried and fretted about her existence alone as a young fawn with only a human mother’s guidance to take along when traveling her own path someday. I sat for hours with her, observing her nature and understanding the quietness of her life. I learned to appreciate her world. But never once did I realize that Daisy had brought me… had brought us all… the gift of Deer Medicine.
Now, I watch Daisy’s movements with a much deeper understanding. Today when she licks me as I pet her and pick ticks off of her, I regard it as much more than just the natural act of mutual grooming between doe and fawn. I think of it now as a gentle act of caring and kindness and love between mother and daughter… of applying Deer Medicine … that brings about a great healing of my soul.
© Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…