A few weeks back, I had a dream where I was standing on our back porch, looking down into the canyon. I saw two fawns standing in the long, flat feeder where we provide a high-protein supplement for Daisy and her friends year-round. In my dream, these two babies were just standing in the feeder looking at me, and I understood they were mine to raise. For days, the power of this dream and the intense feeling that it would come true was with me constantly. When the game warden brought Emma to us a week later, I was not surprised.
Over the last two weeks I have kept hope for that second fawn in the dream. In part, because it would fulfill the dream and I would not feel like I was silly for being so sure I would be raising two fawns – I had already told too many people how positive I was about the dream! But mostly, I knew this time I did not want to raise another single fawn, because it would be tough to watch Emma go through her first months of life alone, in a pen. Deer are herd animals and quite social, so when we acquired injured Holly deer when Daisy was about seven months old, it was as if an angel sent her to us. Holly helped to calm Daisy. They laid together in the pen and, even though Daisy established herself as the dominant doe, it was apparent that they had a way of getting along, and of respecting each other’s boundaries. And Holly, having been wild all of her life, taught Daisy a few things too – like how unnecessary it was to take shelter in the barn. Daisy never went inside the barn again after Holly arrived. Instead, she and Holly weathered the outdoor elements together, just as all deer do in the wild.
Yesterday, a man running a wheat harvesting combine, stopped his machine and flagged down his friend who had been helping haul the grain from the combine to a semi-trailer truck, with his tractor and wheat wagon. He explained that earlier, he saw a whitetail doe go running off on one of his first rounds, and now noticing some buzzards flying overhead, he wondered if he had hit something with the combine. So both men stopped their work and began walking the fresh wheat stubble to find whatever might have been hit. After a bit of a search in the large field, they found an injured fawn. Realizing it had been cut by the combine, they immediately called the game warden, but received no answer. So, they carried the fawn back to the tractor and kept it in the cab beside the driver with a leash and collar fashioned from duct tape, while hoping to hear from the game warden soon.
Ronnie, the tractor driver, who had retired from the same company FD works for, suddenly remembered that FD and I had once raised an orphaned deer. So Ronnie put in a call to FD yesterday afternoon, explaining what had happened. FD was already out on the road on business and headed home, so he told Ronnie he would pick up the fawn on his way back to town. Once FD saw the injuries, he determined he would have to seek help from a veterinarian.
Of course I was initially elated when FD called me with the news. My dream had indeed come true! But I was concerned when he told me he was at the veterinarian’s office here in town. A couple of times in the past, I had called them for advice or help with an injured animal and was flatly told they did not treat wildlife. To boot, a couple of close friends had complained that the two vets at that clinic were simply “cattle and horse” doctors, and not really geared toward pets. Because of this, I feared the worst. And it wasn’t just our local vet’s office that I had been disappointed in when I asked for help with wildlife. In fact, in many times of need, I had called all around the vicinity and pretty much got the same response from every vet I contacted – “We don’t handle wildlife”.
But, when FD came home with “Ronnie” the fawn (named after the man who rescued him), he gave good reviews and great detail about his and Ronnie’s visit to the veterinarian’s office. The entire staff was kind and friendly… and very receptive. FD was not put off or turned away by them, but was told that, as long as we had a permit with the state to rehabilitate wildlife, they would certainly help us. The vet admittedly had not stitched up or worked on a deer before, but he got out his reference books and calculated the amount of anesthesia, and put great thought into how to stitch this little fella up. FD said he did an expert job. After the stitching was complete, he injected an antibiotic and instructed FD about taking the sutures out in two weeks. Likely, in that short time, Ronnie will be too wild and strong to safely transport in a vehicle!
So far, Ronnie has been having a little trouble accepting the milk bottle, but we will continue to work with him. And, he is already head over heels in love with his big sister Emma. Emma surprised us by mothering him – licking his wounds and licking all around his tiny body. He, in turn, tagged along behind her all through the house.
*UPDATE* Tonight, with encouragement and advice from my dear, deer friend Kimra, who suggested sweetening Ronnie’s formula with Karo syrup (I had none on-hand, so substituted Blackstrap Molasses), little Ronnie, with some help from FD, sucked down his first 5 ounces of milk!
When Emma arrived, I thought a second deer would be the “angel” we needed to keep her company. But I think it is Emma herself who is our angel. Little Ronnie is probably two weeks younger than Emma, and he was stressed and scared when he arrived. Having been cut by a combine, then spending the afternoon in a tractor with a human, then transported in a pickup cab by FD, taken to the vet and tranquilized for stitching up, and finally waking up to find he would be spending the evening with humans, inside a house… well, Emma was indeed the angel that calmed him and soothed his frazzled nerves. And I cannot help but smile when I think of the busy farm workers who took the time to notice the fleeing doe, the buzzards flying overhead, and shut down their combining to go on a search for an injured animal. Those other “angels” made calls and took the necessary steps to see that the injured fawn got help. And I have only rave reviews for our local vet, who was willing and took time to help us and help Ronnie get the best chance at healing.
I think the lesson here, is that we must always be ready to entertain angels… they walk among us every single day and come in many forms!
© 2016 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…