Everyone Has a Story…

It is always interesting to collect information and stories about various injured or orphaned wildlife that we take in. The main point in knowing the animal’s background has always been to determine how to proceed with treatment. With that background knowledge, we try mimicking the scenario that the particular species came from, and continue care as close to what its own mother would provide. Most of the time, the people who call us about the wildlife they encounter are truly concerned and just want to help. They are glad to do their part in the rescue and are excited to share their story. Other times, well-intended (or not) humans intervene but discover it isn’t so easy to care for the wild critter they have taken in, and then call us for help. Whatever story we get, it is sometimes evident later that what we were told just doesn’t fit with what we see. In these cases, it takes a bit of trial and error and tapping into good old instinct and common sense to get a better feel for what is really going on.

The call about fawn Scout came early on Sunday morning, the last day of May. The man, Troy, who called had been concerned about a fawn he had observed alone for a couple of days. The fawn had been mewing or, as he put it, “squawking up a storm”, near his home and probably calling to a mother that had been gone too long. During this time, the fawn had also found company with a lone Great Pyrenees dog that belonged to no one in particular (or maybe the dog found company with the fawn?). Anyway, this dog showed up at Troy’s home every few days, ate a few good meals, rested a couple of days, and then took off again. Troy noted that the fawn had been trying to nurse on the big dog, and he felt something must have happened to the mother. With our acknowledgement that we would head his way to rescue the fawn, he informed us that he would attempt to catch the fawn while we got on the road.

Once we arrived, we found a very friendly man who explained more of the story. The landscape and busy road made sense with what he had explained earlier on the phone. The Great Pyrenees was lying at the front sidewalk. He posited the dog could have been the problem, protecting the little fawn as the Great Pyrenees are known for their tendencies to protect livestock but, in the process, keeping the mother from her fawn.  Troy also pointed out the busy road and a nearby creek where deer often crossed, worried that someone may have hit the mother. If so, it would have been impossible to find her in the tall grasses or the deep creek area.

The call on little Gracie came on the following Friday morning. A young woman, Paige, brought the fawn, and stayed to visit quite a while. She was from the nearby community of Gracemont (thus the name Gracie), but the fawn had actually come from the Fort Cobb area, where Page’s fiance’ worked on a landscaping crew that was clearing a wooded area. The fellas on the crew almost ran over Gracie with machinery and worried she could be run over by other equipment if they did not rescue her, as there was much more clearing to do in the area. At the end of the day, worried the mother would not return due to being scared off by the noisy equipment, general human activity, and cleared woodlands, Paige’s fiance’ decide to bring Gracie home. After hearing Gracie’s story from Paige, we were informed that she had fed the fawn calf milk replacer and knew to stimulate the bathroom business. Knowing this, we felt Gracie had been in good hands and should acclimate well to her new home with us – and Scout.

Gracie and Scout enjoying their new digs in the deer pen!
Fawns instinctively know to eat dirt, which aids in keeping good gut bacteria. The deer pen has many areas where good, fresh dirt can be found!

Ten days after we got the call about Gracie, a man called about a fawn he had picked up just outside of Apache, OK. He indicated the mother had been hit by a vehicle and the fawn had been found wandering in the road near the mother’s body. Wondering if a second or third fawn might also be in the area, since does tend to birth two and sometimes three fawns, we opted to pick up the fawn and look around near the mother’s body on our way back home. The man had the fawn in a dog kennel, which had housed a rather large dog that was now chained to a lone tree in the front yard. He was vague about details when we asked about the feeding and care the fawn was given since he’d picked it up. And, when we asked about where he found the fawn and where the mother was killed, he waved a hand off to the north saying maybe three miles out. While it was a well-traveled road, we never found a dead doe. And, after getting little Ruthie home, it became apparent she had never been fed, as the man said he had been doing for a couple of days.

When we arrived home with Ruthie, it was immediately obvious she did not know how to take a bottle. After a couple of tries, I quickly gave up on that and decided to potty her next by gently stimulating her genitals with Kleenex and baby wipes. Right away, Ruthie peed what seemed like endless amounts of urine and, even more heartbreaking, came the realization she had not been stimulated to defecate either, and had become somewhat impacted. In fact, she was dangerously close to becoming septic, which would have been deadly. More than seven, large, very hard stools passed and, with each one, Ruthie cried out in pain. In between, she licked all over my arms and mewed gently when it was all over. It took a lot of work with her over the next couple of feedings to get her to take the bottle. She kicked like a mule, and despite trying to be gentle and calming, she fought my assistance in getting the nipple to her mouth. After many tries, she finally gave in, sucking heartily while sitting on her rump, with legs out in front of her. After feeding, she was as exhausted as I was, and promptly found a spot behind a stool next to a bookshelf, and there she rested. In the days to come, Ruthie’s fearful side and desire to escape, made us wonder about the method of previous attempts to force her to take a bottle by the man who found her. Thankfully, Forrest’s work with horses and foals in the past, made him the perfect mama-daddy to help Ruthie learn to trust her new, strange parent(s).

Ruthie was still in the house when this picture was taken. With her trust and comfort in her new surroundings restored, she loves to scamper around with Oscar and Lollipop. In fact, the road races she ran through the house after her noon meal yesterday, along with great progress in learning to come to her mama-daddy’s call and taking the bottle on her own at feeding time, prompted us to take her to join her sisters in the pen where she can run and jump at will! But that’s a story for another day…

I have thought a lot about the stories of the injured and orphaned wildlife we have taken in over the years. And, I have thought a lot about my own story, and the stories of people I have known in my life. When trying to interpret stories of life and find empathy and understanding of the being who has lived them, it helps to get an accurate and honest accounting of what each of us has experienced, even if it means admitting to ignorance or mistakes made along the way. I try to move forth with the belief that all people do the best they know how, and that pleading ignorance or admitting to a mistake can often be the thing that sets us free, and allows us to make better decisions the next time. How we treat and care for others has everything to do with the way they respond to us, and to others, as they move through life and begin to write another part of their story. I believe all these stories of life matter… and I believe we ALL matter.

Tukker does not know what to think about Scout and Gracie in his old deer pen. Every morning he urinates or leaves his scat at one of the gates to the pen. He seems very curious.

© 2020 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…


33 thoughts on “Everyone Has a Story…

    1. Thank you, Cherity. It is the same thing I love about reading your posts – the more we hear about other’s lives and experiences, the more we have understanding, and in turn it can change the way we see people. I love the way you examine your own life and thoughts. Your openness and honesty can help other’s with the same struggles.

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  1. You are so right, how we treat and care for others has so much to do with how they respond to us, and never is that more evident than with animals. It’s so interesting to know the background stories for your rescues, and likewise to listen when others tells us their own stories. What a huge amount of work and skill you need for your rescue work. Thank you for taking the time to share it with us.

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    1. I thought a long time about how to present this story about the fawns, and try to connect with my feelings about what is going on in our country, and the world. It’s truly about listening and trying to find understanding.

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  2. Wow, what an experience! Thank you for being such a gentle, kind helper to those sweet deer and for sharing your story.

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    1. Aw, we love what we do here. If I was twenty years younger, this might be easier! There is a lot of chasing around with three fawns, and they’re so different than the others we have raised. It’ll be interesting as this moves along. Thank you for reading… I appreciate your thoughts.

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  3. I remember that in a post some time ago you said that people who give orphaned animals to agencies or to you often make up stories about what happened. In today’s post, the accounts you described getting seem to have been more true than not.

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    1. I think perhaps, Forrest and I are getting better at reading the signs, and knowing more about what is normal for fawns. When the story doesn’t fit with how we know things should be, we wonder about the story. But it does no good to stay there – we move on to help the situation improve. I still think for the most part, people have good intentions. Surely, even if they make mistakes and decide to turn them over in the end, they have the well-being of the critter in mind.

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  4. Interesting to learn more about fawn rescue and their ‘needs’ – – Intriguing as today seems to be the day, on many fronts, I read many posts or have interactions with those ‘hurting’, educating others on various ways folks, flora, fauna are suffering from trauma and the fact that well meaning people often lie to themselves and/or others on key points when transparency would aide in getting to understanding, aide, and support much faster – – at least that still, tonight, after my own lil brush with ‘WTF?” unexpected ‘trauma’ from an angle that, if I asked, I would have NEVER, in a a gazillion years have suspected would ‘come from that front’ – sigh – recently rewatched the tv series House – where the tag line is, “Patients lie” or “Everybody lies” all while the main character spends seasons (years) lying to himself on various fronts – – LOL. interesting and intriguing to see the ‘lying/trauma’ thing come up on my radar (many times) just today –

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    1. You are correct – people sometimes lie where the truth would have served them better! I remember a woman who had a major aneurysm surgery, who did not inform her doctor or her anesthesiologist that she was an alcoholic. She was in a coma for nearly a week. We were told, had she divulged that information, the surgery and her recovery would have been quick. She ended up with more complications because she was untruthful. And, I know a few people who have lied to themselves all through their lives… and they truly believe the lies they tell themselves. It’s a psychological disorder. I suppose the up side of it in our situation, it helps us become more focused on what we see and know, and not “the story”!

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  5. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. And that is a pun not intended. At first read- if I had not read the previous one of last week, I would say that the job of raising three deer at one time is a bit much. But with your proficiency it is so natural for you. Thank goodness you took the last fawn because she would have been dead soon due to lack of care. That little precious baby was in dire straits and I know that she must have felt so much better. I can only imagine her painful abdomen.

    So by now, all three of them are probably out in the deer pen with Tukker wondering what in the world happened to his bliss.

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    1. Yes, I don’t think Ruthie had much more time to spare. That was a toxic situation. Raising three has been a challenge and some work, but after that first month (when they can do the bathroom business on their own) things become easier.

      They are all in the deer pen… I need to get writing about that. 🙂

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  6. I think you two are a blessing not only to the animals that you both nurture back to health and freedom, but to the wider universe too. Such caring must surely ripple and send out good energy all around you.
    I imagine you sometimes feel that you don’t have the energy to take on several new borns yet again, but you do it any way.
    I taught English in companies for many years. My students were everyone from assistants to directors and it taught me that, indeed everyone has a story and everyone is interesting in their own imperfect way.
    Looking forward to seeing these triplets grow.
    Henrie xxx

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    1. You imagine correctly. While I knew my thoughts told me “more than one” and the number three kept coming up, beyond that I thought of the responsibility and the work that would go into this in the heat of summer, until weaning at three months. Yet, intuitively, I knew being presented with this experience was how it should be, and that there is always more to be learned.

      It didn’t take long to see the personalities of these three come out. Ruthie, the smallest and most difficult to work with, is evolving in ways we hadn’t imagined!

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  7. Oh my goodness me, I can imagine the work involved in raising these babies but they are so cute… enough to make it difficult to say I’ll pass. Reading between the lines is often then gift of hindsight. Our dog is a rescue; the benign and edited story given to us by the RSPCA only made sense once other details became apparent after he’d lived with us for a while.

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    1. Wouldn’t it make the adjustment for all involved in rescue and rehabilitation so much better if we knew the real stories? I suppose though, our minds are sharpened and the investigation is part of what makes us explore and think a little harder to get the situation as best it can be.

      These three are cute for sure. I’m afraid I’ve become like the mother who took thousands of photos of our first deer, Daisy, but am now so tired and thinking everything is “old hat” that I haven’t done a very good job of photographing these sweeties. However, I will add it’s difficult to get them all in one photo. Video is probably better… they’re like March hares jumping and leaping all over the deer pen!

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  8. Your stories of the deer rescues you make are always heart-warming despite beginning with sadness. That they respond to you and Forrest’s ministrations speaks volumes about your caring as well as knowledge of how o treat them. So much admiration for you both.
    Our third beagle, Murphy, was rescued in Fairfield County, CT and there was no knowledge of his previous life experience. But his mannerisms and timidity told the rescue folks and us that he had been abused and it took years for him to become comfortable around others aside from the two of us…actually to near the end of his life. Knowing his prior problems, as far as we could surmise, made it easier for us to give him the love and patience he needed to live a happy life.

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    1. Murphy sounds like my Mr. T who recently passed away. We saw small improvements along the way, but it was the last year of his life where he truly flourished. I often wonder if it was because our other older dogs had passed and we got little Oscar about that time. Mr. T seemed to enjoy having a little pup around, and he became more playful and relaxed than we’d ever seen him.

      Forrest is truly gifted with animal “whisperer” qualities. There is no way I would have taken on two or three without him!! 🙂

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      1. I am not sure whether Murphy would have responded well to a young pup as he was a bit aggressive with other dogs. But one never knows and I am no dog psychologist. 🙂
        You and Forrest obviously make a great team…and I am sure in more ways than the one. 🙂

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  9. I know of wildlife rehabilitation in our area but have never had the opportunity to visit and observe their practices. Your lively, detailed accounts of deer rehabilitation have been a real education for me. I have much respect for the unselfish work that pros like you and FD do with this all-to-common problem. Great post. Keep up the great work and stay safe!

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    1. You bring up an important issue with the, “all-to-common” problem. I know our local game warden works hard to educate people about deer and fawns. There are many misconceptions out there. And for Forrest and me, we learn about deer each time we take one in. Just yesterday we saw a local doe near the slough, and across the body of water we saw her two-week old fawn swimming across to meet her. Neither of us could believe our luck at observing this! Who knew a tiny fawn could swim??

      We watch our game camera weekly so we know this particular fawn’s age. So far this year we have seen three local does with babies. One of them has had her twins out at the same time so they would be about a month old. It’s just fantastic to know our area flourishes with whitetail and all sorts of wildlife!

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  10. Poor Tucker. maybe he’ll adopt the role of older and wiser “I’ll show you the way”…even for a little bit it might prove comforting to all of them.
    Such stories – I’ve worried with this excessive heat over how your little ones are managing – deer live outdoors, but you just never know what these little guys really face, for how long, and their conditions. A couple fo lucky little deer there – you are one powerful deer mom. …not to mention one with horse sense and acquire learning of hoofed behavior is a huge help.
    Wishing you guys a peaceful calm weekend and 4th of July.
    Time for lemonade and sitting on the porch looking out over fields – and being content in the moment. Cheers

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    1. The fireworks did not affect the deer at all. That always surprises me. And other years our city had the fireworks display in the park, just three blocks from here which was LOUD. Well, this year it was across town at the fairgrounds, so we didn’t have all of the noise and traffic. That was a plus.

      We saw Tukker acting like a kid yesterday. The triplets were at the gate looking out to him. He had his nose pressed up to the gate, and Scout was mostly interested in him. They began running around and scampering all over. All of a sudden Tukker did the same! Head down, backing up and moving sideways rather fast, then jumping straight up, and then throwing his heels up! He looked like he was having a blast! We still don’t trust him enough to let him in the deer pen, and getting him out could be a problem. He got in my garden Saturday when I’d left it open a crack to get the sprinkler going. It took us forever to lure him out with a banana. But I truly think he’s only curious about them.

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      1. He’s checking out the new kids on the block. How funny.
        All the fireworks around here were canceled…except the neighborhood big boys. Luckily Molly isn’t afraid or fireworks – so different than The German or Ella – we had to sit in the bathroom closed up wrapped up in blankets. GS have those giant radar ears that are terribly sensitive, it seems.
        Rain today – so grateful for clouds and a fraction of a bit cooler.

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  11. Hi Lori, you and Forrest certainly aren’t shy about taking on new challenges. I hope that in time, you will find yourself liking iris more than you do now. With the improvements you have made over the years to the deer pen and your knowledge and experience of raising deers, your three new charges are in safe hands.

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    1. I am so practical-minded that what I could enjoy is often snuffed out by my sense of logic. Adding the iris beds at the rock house to my already busy life, do not make sense. The beds are full of weeds and invasive and difficult-to-eradicate vine that will take us years to get cleaned up and maintain. That is not how I planned to spend my retirement years. But, we will give this a whirl and see where it takes us. I did enjoy the beauty of many of the now-blooming iris, thanks to the removal of trees. Maybe I can learn to love them when they come back in full splendor.

      The deer pen improves each year. This year we did not spend so much extending it (which we plan to do again), but I worked on landscaping, gowing deer-friendly plants and edibles, and building woodland-like scenarios for the girls to hide in and find shelter. None of them care for the barn much, so it was necessary to make sure the outdoors was a good setup! And all three are such varied personalities… we are adjusting to that too. We’re always learning, aren’t we? 🙂

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