Comfort Came To Visit

Sunday started out much like so many other weekend days. After a simple breakfast, FD was off early to do a little work in the pecan orchard, and I took the electric buggy to the woods to fetch cat brier and elm branches for orphaned fawns, Emma and Ronnie, to feast on. It was a beautiful, sunny morning with little breeze. If I could complain about anything, it was that the gnats were swarming all along the path into the woods. I was glad I set out early to avoid the worst of the gnats and heat that would come as the atmosphere warmed up.

I returned with two small Siberian Elms on top of the buggy and a load of cat brier in my work box on the back. On my way across the pasture headed towards the deer pen, I saw a great-niece and nephew who had spent the night at my mother-in-law’s house, moving slowly in my direction. As I neared them, they broke into a run. We greeted each other, and I asked if maybe later they would like to go for a ride to the pecan orchard where I planned to pick a bucket of acorns for the deer. As I unloaded the trees into the deer pen, I thought it was odd that Emma and Ronnie were nowhere to be seen. That is when our great-nephew announced that the deer had been “jumping into the fence” and there was blood all over, showing me blood on one of his hands. At this point, I did not stop to ask investigative questions or conduct a scrutiny of the situation. Instead, I ordered the kids to sit quietly in the buggy while I checked on the deer. I immediately walked to the area between the two barns, where I found Emma and Ronnie on high alert. Moving slowly I finally stopped, allowing them to come to me. I could see they were unsure of me and both were trembling. Finally Emma moved cautiously towards me as I spoke to her in soft tones, using words I knew she was used to hearing. At first glance, Emma looked fine. She was just panting hard while keeping an eye on both children at the buggy. Ronnie, on the other hand, had blood running down his nose and chin, and he was limping. Upon closer inspection, I saw the flesh between his left nostril and upper lip was completely torn. The flap of skin hung oddly to the side of the nostril and blood ran freely from the gaping wound, as Ronnie licked at his nose. He was panting harder than Emma. Immediately, I texted FD who promised to be on his way home quickly.

Ronnie was too frightened to allow me to get a good look or clean him up when I first arrived.
Ronnie was too frightened to allow me to get a good look or clean him up when I first arrived.
The fawns hit the gate hard, driving it out about 5 inches from the fence, bending the tube frame. Likely Ronnie may have ripped his nose on the latch.
The fawns hit the gate hard, driving it out about 5 inches from the fence, bending the tube frame. Likely, Ronnie may have ripped his nose on the latch or the wingnuts that join the fence panels. We plan to make the fences safer in the next week or two.

These children had been told the day before to stay away from the deer pen, and they were plenty old enough to understand. Both FD and I and the great-grandparents had explained why they could not be near the deer. I thought I had gone into great detail about how deer behave in the wild, and that humans were considered a predator and that many things scared them. I explained how they sensed danger, and that noise, smells, and the sight of anything strange could cause them to become frightened. Emma and Ronnie knew and trusted FD and me, and they were familiar with my mom-in-law and her husband, but neither of my in-laws came close to the pen. They had always respected the deer by moving slowly and behaving in a quiet manner. Even tending to the chickens, who share a small pen next-door, was done in a slow, easy manner. But, for whatever reason, our great-niece wanted to “make friends” with the deer, and when her brother came running to get her away from the pen, the deer reacted to these two strangers by taking flight… and unfortunately so, into the fences.

Once I took the kids back to my in-laws, I did my best to keep calm while helping the fawns to settle down. On closer inspection, I discovered that Ronnie had also broken an antler bud, and he had swelling around it on the top of his head. Possibly a hematoma had developed, and I could but hope he only had a concussion and not a skull fracture. He also had a small cut under an eye and, fortunately, his leg injury appeared to be superficial. And, after observing Emma more closely, I realized she had broken some of her front teeth loose on her left side, and appeared to be missing a tooth. Noticing that her left lower lip appeared to hang down a bit and her tongue could be seen peeking out slightly on that side, caused me to wonder if her lower jaw might not be fractured at the front where the tooth is missing. With this worry on top of Ronnie’s general condition, I called the local veterinarian for advice. The vet told me there was not much to be done for Ronnie, but to keep him calm for a few days since he may have a slight concussion, but he did not feel the skull had been injured. There was nothing he could do about the nostril rip. He had seen this type of injury many times in cattle and, in most cases, the loose flap of skin simply caused them to make a slight wheezing sound when breathing heavily. The broken antler, he said, would shed in the spring, but it was possible it could have damaged the pedicile for life and, then again, maybe not. We would only know for sure next year, when we see if he produces two regular antlers, or just one. Regarding Emma, the vet stated he could possibly do surgery to fix her jaw, if it was indeed broken, depending on how bad it was. When I explained it was at the front lower portion, and not at the side or back, he felt that, being young, she would heal on her own. Further, he informed us, if we decided to go the surgery route, that would have to happen by the next day.

Ronnie lays his head on Emma's back. He relied on his big sister to comfort him.
Ronnie lays his head on Emma’s back. He seemed to rely on his big sister for comfort.
I am sure Ronnie had a terrible headache and likely a concussion from his head injury and antler breaking off.
I am sure Ronnie had a terrible headache, and possibly a concussion, from his head injury and broken antler nub. Maybe a little ice would help?
Emma slept most of the afternoon. One fawn slept while the other kept watch.
Emma slept most of the afternoon. One fawn slept while the other kept watch.
Emma could be found licking Ronnie's nose throughout the day. The bleeding finally subsided by the next morning.
Emma could be found licking Ronnie’s nose and forehead throughout the day. The bleeding finally subsided by evening.
Emma takes her turn looking out for danger while Ronnie rests. Ronnie's pose is typical of how deer rest in the wild.
Emma takes her turn looking out for danger while Ronnie rests. Ronnie’s pose is typical of how deer sleep in the wild.

To calm and comfort them, I sat with Emma and Ronnie all afternoon, and into the evening. They rested most of the day. It was the first time I ever saw them resting so hard that they were unaware of their surroundings. But, as always, one fawn kept an eye out for danger while the other rested. I kept ice on Ronnie’s head as best I could, and he did not seem to mind. I petted them both softly. And I prayed. Several times throughout the day, Emma licked Ronnie’s nose. And I often saw him lay his head against her body. Emma had been a good, big sister to Ronnie from the first day that he came to us – being a little mother to him all along. Later that evening, finally, Ronnie’s bleeding subsided somewhat. And before dark, both fawns showed interest in some small pieces of pear, carrot, and sweet potato. They even ate a bit of deer feed and fruity kibbles, and I noticed Ronnie eating a few elm leaves. Also, they both had no difficulty drinking water, so we decided not to put Emma through the stress of surgery.

Ronnie's nose looked much better the following morning.
Ronnie’s nose looked much better the following morning.
Ronnie is able to eat acorns, but he still seems to have a headache and he's doing a lot of resting.
Ronnie is able to eat acorns, but he still seems to have a headache and he’s doing a lot of resting.
Emma's mouth is parted slightly and her tongue now peeps out just a bit. She is missing a tooth. We hope this will not hinder her ability to maintain a good diet.
Emma’s mouth is parted slightly and her tongue now peeps out just a bit. She is missing a tooth. We hope this will not hinder her ability to rip away browse and forbes.
Ronnie's nose will always have a peculiar flare to the left side. And his left antler bud will be shed in the spring. We will have to wait to see if he has permanent damage to his left antler if we continue to see him after his release.
Ronnie’s nose will always have a peculiar flare to the left side. And his left antler bud will be shed in the spring, so we will have to wait to see if he has permanent damage to his left antler when he becomes a yearling, if we continue to see him at all after his release.

Monday morning, Ronnie’s nose had quit bleeding, the swelling had gone down on his head, and his limp was barely noticeable. Emma was eating better, mostly using the other side of her mouth to nibble leaves away from branches. They both even indulged in a few acorns! In spite of seeing these improvements, my heart was still heavy. As I went about my morning deer chores of gathering elm and brier, I broke into tears several times out of both anger and sorrow. I just did not understand why this had to happen.  Trying to put these feelings aside and move along, I tackled my final chore of the morning gathering acorns from the old oak tree before the squirrels snagged them all up. Standing on the top rack of the electric buggy, I reached as high as I could to pick acorns the squirrels had not yet grabbed up for themselves. From this vantage point, I looked across the pasture where Ronnie and Emma laid along the fence. They seemed content to have each other, and to have their mama in sight. As I plucked away gathering acorns from the big oak, a large shadow suddenly moved overhead, disappearing just ahead of me in some elm trees near the alley. Could it be a vulture… my totem? For many years I had found vultures to be a sign of grace and comfort (My Totem, the Vulture). In fact, they have become a spirit bird in my life. “Glide and Soar… leave your carcass of troubles behind” is the message vulture brings to me each time I spot him. Climbing down from the buggy and carefully walking a short distance towards the elm trees, I spotted a lone vulture perched on top of a service pole on our property. Wings spread wide to the sun, my magnificent friend basked in the glory of the morning!  Seeing he was not worried about my presence, I ran to the house to fetch my camera and zoom lens. On my quick return, he allowed me to observe and photograph him a short time and then, with just a few strong beats of wing, he soared off to the west, gliding higher and higher, finally banking off to the north as he headed towards the pecan orchard.  For me, this visit was no coincidence. As he has so often done, Vulture had come to give comfort to my wounded heart, and to remind me to leave my carcass of troubles behind… to release my hurt and anger… but most of all, to remind me to glide and soar above it all.

Vulture_7309

My friend Vulture brings the message I so desperately needed to hear, “Glide and Soar, and leave the carcass of troubles to me”.
My friend Vulture brought the message I so desperately needed to hear, “Glide and Soar, and leave the carcass of troubles to me”.

© 2016 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…


29 thoughts on “Comfort Came To Visit

  1. Oh, Lori, I was so upset as I read this. Why indeed. After all your care for Emma and Ronnie, one thoughtless action did so much damage. I know, kids will be kids. Hopefully they have learned a lifelong lesson from this. I sure hope the fawn’s injuries don’t hamper them in the wild. I was very interested in your Vulture visitation. The Universe works in mysterious ways! Hugs and love to you all.

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    1. Ardys, the fawns seem to be doing well. I know from observing some fairly serious injuries to Daisy deer, that these beautiful mammals are resilient and tough. Ronnie is resting a lot and neither of them is up to par on eating, but that’s to be expected. We had a rough day here weather-wise which made the deer skittish and wary. I made sure to work within sight of them so they were more calm. I know people say kids will be kids, but I was not raised that way. We knew better. When our parents or grandparents told us not to do something, we didn’t because we knew there would be grave consequences. I am doubtful this had any bearing on either of the children. They do not think about the long term effect that their carelessness will have on Ronnie and Emma in life. Emma will have to survive without a tooth or two, and a jaw that is off kilter. Ronnie may never be able to defend himself in the wild if one antler is missing or inept in a battle.

      I believe when we cross paths with animals or birds, there is a message to be gleaned, especially if there are several sightings. Vultures have appeared to me during many times of trouble. I love them. They are majestic and powerful. I am continually reminded to “glide and soar” above it all. 🙂

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  2. Lori, you have such composure. Me? I’d have given them the tongue lashing of their lives, and probably had the family in an uproar about it all. I’m glad a cooler head prevailed!

    Do deer have milk teeth? If so, I take it that the lost teeth were permanent ones? I am simply so sad about this. And as you and Ardysez have mentioned, we were raised so much differently when we were growing up. Sad.

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    1. Lynda, I was only calm while I had to deal with the injuries those first hours. FD took care of the lecturing, (and I’m quite sure he wasn’t kind) but I’m not confident it did any good except for the moment. This isn’t the first time we’ve had kids on the place that didn’t listen. It’s typical of many family situations these days… little respect for elders, property, or nature. Between the dogs (the neighbors have been out again – we’ve caught them on the game camera) and these kids, I am just about out of patience. Emma’s are lost permanent teeth. I think she will be able to clip off vegetation on the other side of her mouth. Her ability to eat is now hampered by a disability. I’m just hopeful as young as she is, and by some miracle, she will heal on her own. We will have to spend more money on mesh fencing, and will be putting the mesh on the inside of the fence to maybe protect the deer a bit better. The only problem with that is possible chewing. Deer are like goats – they love to nibble and destroy things.

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  3. Hi Lori, What a pity this happened. Like the other person who has commented, I hope the children have learned an important lesson – that there are times when our own wants and desires are secondary, that the needs of others must be considered first, in this case the welfare of the deer. It would be distressing for anyone to see the injuries sustained by the deer because of a thoughtless action. I hope Ronnie and Emma continue to recover from their injuries and their appetites return to normal.

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    1. Thank you. We are doing all that we can to keep them quiet and they’re getting a very good diet. And there is some wonderful and powerful energy coming from so many readers… it means so much. 🙂

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  4. They do take fright so fast poor wee things, is their pen within the trees? Ah well – these things happen and I am sure the children will remember next time, hopefully you were very strong with them reminding them to go by the rules in future so they do remember. Hope they continue to heal because these kind of injuries would mitigate their ability to be released into the wild. I think? Much love c

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    1. I feel the love here – so many wonderful responses and good thoughts. You know my heart C… it feels broken right now. I am not sure what to think about Emma. I felt her teeth tonight, and there is a loose one, plus there is a missing one. The other side seems fine, but her bite will be off. I’m sure she can manage – she will have to. But nipping may be a challenge and she may chew on one side only. We will have to wait and see. Ronnie is such a gentle boy who overcame so much with the combine accident. So far his nose doesn’t seem to bother him. It’s healing well though deformed. And we won’t know about his antler until next year. Bucks have a tough life, and missing an antler makes for a disadvantage should he have to fight. So for now with both of them, it’s “wait and see”.

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      1. Yes – I have been thinking of them today – they will not do well in the wild for a while anyway but many many wild creatures sustain awful injuries and survive quite well. For the moment though they are better in their run ..with you feeding them and training them still – at least it is not fly season – I hate to see flies on a wound – they do nasty damage. Animals are so In the Moment though and I am sure you feel more stressed than they do now that the episode is over.. I will keep popping in to see how they are.. c

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        1. We still have flies here in the south. I did have a pet-safe repellent that is derived from plants, and it worked on Ronnie, but Emma kept licking it off! I guess being herbivores, the repellent must be flavorful! It’s Friday and the first real chilly morning we’ve had. They both were frisky this morning and appetites are getting back to normal. All good signs! Thank you for thinking of us… it really means a lot.

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  5. We certainly hope that Ronnie and Emma improve. So sorry, especially, about Emma’s teeth; i sure hope that she heals up well and is able to eat normally. In the future, i’d give kids a more strict warning (from FD especially), but a lot of kids are off the beam these days (and a few minutes won’t do much for that). A lot of kids, these days, are way more injured than the deer (and improvement isn’t, unfortunately, very likely).
    Nature has real resilience (and they are young) and that’s a good thing!

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    1. I’m afraid I’ve lost faith in most kids. So much of it is the way of the world now. And you are right about the deer and nature. Youth will certainly play a big part, and I have seen some wounds with other deer that healed quickly. Nature is resilient. I’m counting on that for Emma and Ronnie.

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    1. Thank you, Audrey. They both seem to be doing better today (Friday). Still not up to par on eating, but they seem more lively and spirited. It’s our first cool morning, and deer tend to love the cold. They both have healthy, thick winter coats now. I think we’re all feeling better. 🙂

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    1. I am trying Tom. I took a day off from the place yesterday and I think an outing might have been what I needed. Sometimes immersing oneself in the worry of it all just gets to be overwhelming. I have a brighter attitude today. Suffering never feels very good, does it?

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      1. Suffering, indeed, never feels very good. A wise mind does not let suffering get too much of a hold within; it goes beyond it (having sensitivity for itself). A callous, indifferent mind doesn’t have much sensitivity… so that kind of suffering doesn’t take place; with a dead mind, like a cold rock, sensitivity isn’t an issue.

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  6. This IS a sad story. I have to say kids these days are not what we were in our day. They have NO respect whatsoever and seem to know EVERYTHING! Hope the deer are doing well now!

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    1. I feel so much the same. Yes, the deer are improving. Emma uses the other side of her mouth to nip off leaves, and Ronnie is eating well, but still resting more than usual. I think this is all good… and they even seem a bit frisky in the morning which is a really good sign.

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    1. Emma and Ronnie are more active, and they seem to be eating well – still not up to par that that’s probably to be expected. I don’t have so much “poop” to pick up but hopefully each day will show improvement. Thank you for checking. 🙂

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  7. How horrifying. Of course you had to stay calm and do tiage. No wonder one slept while the other guarded – their safe world shattered. Thank goodness the gate/fence held – I shiver to think if they had slipped out…
    Glad to hear they are recovering. Animals do survive in the wild, but when they are in our care, we feel as if we let them down. (Do not get me started on those kids….you handled it carefully and stayed with the fawns. What is with the thought process with children like this – we had an incident with an in-law child and Molly last Christmas – spoiled, told what not to do, and willfully disobeyed…all for attention – hast o be the center of attention no matter what. What will become of these kids once they are older – dreadful)
    The Universe is on your side – sent your guide to reassure you. Good brings good – take heart.

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    1. How wonderful those words were to read today. There’s been more injury, which I’ll write about later, but in it all, the message that comes to me is “leave it to Universe”. Your words, “take heart” is exactly what I’ve resolved to do. Each day I gather good, healthy browse from the woods, and I buy organic apples, pears, carrots at the store. I gather some of the leafy weeds/plants in the yard that I know they like. And I’m traversing to the orchard to gather Siberian Elm branches, which both of them love. It’s a lot of work, but I feel better knowing I’m doing all that I can. The rest is up to them. And each day I do a full body/hands-on scan of their little bodies, asking Universe for healing and I name off all of the body parts – those that need healing and also in thankfulness of those that are functioning as they should… and then I walk away. Thank you for your caring words.

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