The past few days have been horrific. I mean it.
We live in a suburb of a big metropolitan area. Our lot is about a quarter of an acre, so not huge but not tiny. In the back left corner, we have a large garden area with lilacs behind it and a fence behind those. In the back right corner is where our dogs have claimed their “area.”
On Tuesday, I let the dogs out for a potty break in early afternoon. They trotted up to their area and gradually our little Italian Greyhound started walking toward the left corner after doing her business. This is not unusual as both she and our Whippet love to sniff and stretch and nibble the different grasses growing around the yard.
I was standing on the back deck watching the two dogs when all of a sudden a large deer bolted out and stomped the Italian Greyhound. It happened so fast and all I could think to do was to run out after the deer and throw my shoes at it. It crashed through the lilacs and followed the fence line out of the yard.
When stomped, the dog let out a pathetic scream and scrambled toward the house. The other dog bolted to the house, too. As soon as I chased the deer off, I charged into the house to find the dogs. Poor little Iggy. She had a soft, bulging sphere about the size of a racket ball protruding from her rib cage on the right side. There was a gurgling sound and the bulge throbbed like a heartbeat.
Trying not to panic, I grabbed the phone and called the vet while grabbing Little Bear’s car seat. The vet said to bring the dog in right away. As quickly as I could, I kenneled the Whippet, got Little Bear in the car seat and grabbed the dog. Into the minivan we all went and off to the vet we headed. After a quick check, our vet said the dog would need much more extensive care than he could provide. He made arrangements with an emergency/critical care animal hospital while I sobbed. Then off we went to get there quickly.
They took the dog and did X-rays, ultrasound, exam, IV meds, etc. The dog stayed overnight in the hospital, but we were able to bring her home the next day. Miraculously, she does not seem to have organ damage or severe internal bleeding. She does have a hole in her chest cavity where the deer kicked in her ribs. The bulge is the compromised muscle wall and fluid and blood. She is wearing supportive wraps around her chest and is on pretty heavy medication while her broken ribs mend. We’re praying for a smooth and speedy recovery.
I had no idea a deer would charge out at the dogs, but I still feel so very terrible. Our little dog could have been killed, and now she is in pain. Both dogs are shaken. I am shaken. And our bank account is several, several hundreds of dollars lighter. The whole situation makes me sick, and I still sob when even thinking about that horrible experience. That was no sweet Bambi!
Last night the terrible situation got even worse. When letting the dogs out for an evening potty break (they don’t wander far from the back deck and are eager to get back in now), I heard an odd sound—like a goat bleating. After hearing it several times, I decided to peek and see if the neighbor had gotten a new animal. However, I only took a few steps when I saw it—a tiny fawn peeking at ME from behind the garden!
My stomach, still in knots from the encounter a day and a half previous, dropped. I called up to Mr. Honey who was in the living room. He quickly came down and grabbed a broom on his way out the door. He found the tiniest fawn curled up in some fallen branches. It was weak, so very weak. Using the little strength it had, it tried to “run” on extremely wobbly legs. Unfortunately, it decided to try to run through our garden fence and got stuck. Mr. Honey was able to pull it out without any injury, but its energy was spent. It just hung limp in his arms.
Now, it all made sense. That crazy, mangy deer was a mother. She perceived a threat to her baby even though the dogs and I had no idea it was there. Trying to protect her baby, she nearly killed one of our fur babies. And I chased her off while throwing shoes at her.
My heart sank when the realization hit me. Talk about conflicting emotions! As a new mom, I totally get the protective instinct. Yet, I love the dog and am frightened of the deer and angry at the damage and pain it inflicted.
Anyway, we had not seen the mother since she stomped our dog, and here we had this weak, pathetic little baby. What to do? We called the police so they could take it to a wildlife rehabilitation center. However, after a half hour and no officer, we called a 24-hour vet to find out what we should do. The person who answered the phone said the rehab center was closed and the police would just shoot the fawn. She also gave me a website to look at: fawncare.com. My sister also sent a website about taking care of orphaned deer.
I quickly called the police back and told them to cancel the dispatch. I was going to take care of the fawn and get it to the rehab center in the morning. Then I went to work trying to figure out what to do.
Mr. Honey and I discovered the little fawn had no umbilical cord which meant it was older than two days, but younger than a week due to its development and inability to walk/run well. The fawn was also dehydrated but not severely so, according to the state of its fat pads above its eyes.
Apparently the mother moved her little boy to our backyard after he was born. The websites said she may return even up to three days later; the best thing to do was to provide shelter so it was not exposed to the elements, and leave it near where it was found.
The fawn was quietly resting on top of a blanket in a box, so I scooped up everything and took it out where we found the little one. Gently I tipped the box to the side and slid the blanket and deer down so it rested on the new bottom of the box. I left the flaps open so it could walk out if its mom came. Because it wasn’t moving at all, I figured (hoped) it wouldn’t go anywhere on its own. After saying a prayer for it, I returned to the house.
At one o’clock in the morning, the fawn was still there. At five o’clock in the morning, it was gone. Did his mother return? Did he wander off? I will never know. I do know that if God cares about what happens to birds, then He most certainly cares about deer…and our dog.
26 “Look at the birds. They don’t plant, harvest, or gather the harvest into barns. Yet, your heavenly Father feeds them. Aren’t you worth more than they? Matthew 6:26 GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)