Sunday, September 06, 2009

Baby Deer

I have a sad story to tell. It is a long story but please bear with me and read all the way through to the end. You will be glad you did.

It happened back when I lived in Parkville, Missouri. I guess it was Spring or early Summer. I think 2007. It broke my heart because I am such an animal lover. I can’t stand to see anything suffer, especially an animal.

My Husband and I were driving home after a visit to my Father-in-Law’s home. There is a 2 lane highway that leads to our street. It is very hilly and the road winds back and forth, up and down. It was early evening and the sun was low in the West.

As we came up and around a turn in the highway, I saw a large female deer lying next to the road, dead. I glanced off to the right; down the hill about 100 yards and I saw a baby deer lying next to the tree line, looking directly back up the hill at his Mama, lying dead on the road. I gasped and cried out, “There’s a baby deer by the trees” It was intently watching his Mama, waiting for her to get up and come back to him. Well, you and I know that wasn’t going to happen.

It was very young. I knew it couldn’t possibly take care of itself. I didn’t sleep hardly at all that night. When I did, it was fitful. My Husband was getting up early the next morning to catch a flight to California for a business trip.

When I got up, I had some coffee and watched the morning news. I kept thinking about the baby deer. I finally broke down, got in my car and drove back by the site. The Doe was still by the road and the baby had not moved an inch from where he was the night before. I wondered how long he had been laying there and when the Doe had been killed. How long will he lay there before suffering from dehydration and hunger?

I drove back home. I started obsessing about the baby deer. I called my Husband in California, crying my eyes out. I sobbed about what I had seen, that the baby was still there. Was there something I could do?

I called a local wildlife rehabilitator for the Kansas City area in Jackson County, Missouri. A very nice lady said that there was nothing they could do but that I should call a local animal rescue group in my county of Platte. She had a name and number so I called them. I got an answering machine and left a short message and could they please call me back. A couple of hours went by and no one called. I was getting more upset.

I decided to call the Missouri Department of Conservation in Platte County. I talked to an agent and he gave me the number for my local agent. I called him and he didn’t answer so I left a message, could he please call me back? A few more hours went by.

I decided to try another route. I called the local ABC News affiliate and talked to someone about the story and wondered if they would be interested in helping me. She said she would talk to a reporter and if they were interested, they would call back.

I called the nice lady back at the wildlife rehab center in Jackson County. Did she have any other ideas? Is there someone else I could call? She said she would ask around and call me back. I hung up. I was very upset by this time, thinking about the baby deer. Should I drive back by? I got in my car and went back up there. It was the same as before. My eyes hurt from crying so much. What was I going to do? My Husband was out of town. If he had been home, I might have tried to get him to go with me and see if we could do something, give it water……?

When I got back home, I called the wildlife rescue place in Platte County again. I left another message. I called the Missouri Conservation agent again. I left another message. My whole day had been consumed with the baby deer.

Finally, my local Missouri Conservation agent called me back. I told him the story. He was very kind and said that unfortunately, the law states that deer cannot be transported across county lines because of Wasting Disease and there was no one in Platte County that could take in the baby. He said the most humane thing to do was go and put the baby out of his misery. If he was that young, he probably wouldn’t survive anyway. I thanked him as I sobbed and hung up.

I called my Husband and sobbed that they were going to kill it! There was nothing else to do. He listened and said all the right things. He’s a good Man. I hung up. This whole ordeal had been going on for 24 hours by this time.

A couple of hours went by and the original agent that I had talked to with the Conservation Department called me back. He said that the other agent had gone by and checked out the baby deer.

He said” Ma'am, where you aware that the baby deer was a statue?” I said “What???? Excuse me? A statue? Oh my God, I am so sorry! Really? A statue?” I was very confused and extremely embarrassed. Oh! The shame!

I got back in my car and drove back up there. The Doe was gone but the baby deer was still there. Only now he was looking off in another direction. Not at the road! You know, I kept thinking all along that the baby deer did seem a little pale. I just thought he was sick.

So, as you are aware by my Blog, I love looking at wild life and have gone on trips with my Husband to Yellowstone, Custer State Park, the Grand Canyon, the Ozarks and many other places over the years to watch animals. We have had bird feeders and been bird watchers our whole marriage and I thought I was pretty observant.

Now you know why my friends gave me trouble about the Rattlesnake being a statue! My friend Wendy gave me this little statue to forever memorialize the Baby Deer. He stays in my sewing room and watches ME sew! I’m just glad the news people didn’t call me back!


SewCalGal said...

When I first started reading your story, I was wondering how you got such a cute, little, baby dear into a place with your fabric, and was able to take a photo. Amazing.

I can easily see myself in your situation. Sorry for your stress, but you did do the honorable thing.

Thanks for sharing your story.


SandyQuilts said...

Well at first I wasn't going to read the story .... man am I glad I did. Thanks so much for the laugh.

You are a kind, good woman.

FredaB said...

It is hard in life to have a soft heart. My DIL and GD are both like that. She takes in rescue kittens and you never know if you can go in the downstairs bathroom as sometimes there will be a basket full. thank goodness there are people like you and them in this life. Too many are not.


ps - still think the only good snake is the dead one.

Jeanne said...

I love your story, Thank you for sharing.

Charlene said...

I immediately wondered why you had a deer on what appeared to be your bed... then thought you must have rescued it - still thinking that must be the 'read on' prompt. I do understand - and thanks for sharing. Monday needs a good laugh!

katquilter said...

Great Story! I love it when a tragic story has a happy ending... and I needed a laugh today, so thanks!