Every year, one might drive by our place, and question if we raise cattle......or deer?
This year was no exception.
We actually have an increasing number each year, too many for our tree strips, to be sure.
The threat of disease is something to not be taken lightly, for the good of the cattle, and the deer. But, I still like driving the meadows, tree strips, wherever they are; and enjoy watching them, watch me.
Picture taken September 12, 2010
Picture taken November 22, 2010
I have been known to walk out the door, yelling at the deer to go find other trees to eat on. I finally had to resort to walking out towards the trees, chewing the deer out for chewing on my trees. I eventually gave up, after they would trot 20 steps away, only to turn around and go back to the trees as I was walking to the house. I'm pretty sure it just became a game for them. I probably wasn't very convincing.
One particular Mom had twins, and they were constantly around the houses.
I'm sure they enjoyed the peaceful grazing moments, with no fear of hunters or wild animals attacking them! It became a daily ritual to watch the little family. The other deer were contantly around also, walking and grazing in between our houses, and the yards; but there was just something about this little family that captured my heart. They were more curious, more trustworthy. We could go outside and talk to them, they stood and listened. Really.
Picture taken September 12, 2010
This picture is my favorite little deer that captured my heart. As his mom and 'brother' would venture off to other places, he stayed. He would watch, keeping still for a few minutes, then if I didn't advance, he would just continue eating. I would throw carrots and apples toward him. At first he didn't know what the heck I was trying to bomb him with, but then he came to expect a treat and nose around until he found it. I remember when I took this picture, I thought to myself, "I shouldn't, but I'll bet I could make this little deer a pet." You can notice a buck standing atop the hill in the background; trying to figure out what this human was doing.
The other deer figured out that there were treats around, so they would come for goodies also.
Picture taken November 18, 2010
I had my concerns early on as to why my little friend did want to just stay around. The majority of the time, when all the deer would slip off out of sight, he would stay. He didn't excite too easily, and he was just content to hang around. A few times he would go with the rest of the deer to the tree strips. In the picture above, he just stayed, watching the other deer walk off; even his mom and sibling would leave to the tree strip.
Picture taken November 14, 2010
It just became my daily ritual to go out talk to him, and throw food at him. I could now get within 7 feet to toss him food. His ears would show that he was in controll of being able to run away, but he never did. Cadence went outside with me to talk to the deer. We would tell him how cute and handsome he was, and that he would always be safe - if he stayed in our yard!
This was the little deer family in our backyard. I would open the sliding glass door and throw food out to them in the back. With all the deer in our yards, and around the place...it is too bad that their droppings isn't worth a lot of money - I could be rich!
Pictures above and below were taken November 22, 2010
They became so familiar with us, we could stay outside with them, talk to them, tell them how pretty they are, take pictures, as I would try to figure out how I could always keep them safe; even during deer season.
Picture taken December 3, 2010
At Christmas time, my little deer friend added to the decor in our yard. People drove into the yard; the other deer took off to the back, he just stayed. He was the little yard ornament. One should know better that to give their heart to a wild animal. I know better. But it never changes anything.
The little deer even got used to Duke. Duke would walk up to him, the deer would trot a few steps away - stop, turn around and look at Duke. Duke would walk up to him; on and on it would go. For weeks, my heart began to get heavier and heavier. I watched him, took pictures, talked to him and fed him.....let myself and my emotions go - as I often do.
Our little rescue kitties got so they would run up and see what I fed him. This day it was corn. There was a little cream corn mixed in, so they thought they were entitled to the cream part.
I watched, knowing the reality of the situation....I was afraid he was not feeling well. My biggest fear was that he got something from the calves, or a disease that deer get. I was determined that TLC, good food, good friends, and whatever else I could think of, yes-prayers too; would help him. I guess I kept all these thoughts to myself, but then we all started talking about it. It was the week-end, so we decided we'd call our vets on Monday and ask if there was something we could do for him. I told Don we would be able to get close enough to grab him, but even being sick, he would probably be strong enough to put up a fight.
Now it was a matter of time. He was alone, except for us. His mom and sibling were not coming around him anymore....that says a lot. An animal's instinct picks out their favorite, or if one is sick, many times the poor little thing will get abandoned. Even cattle that have twins will sometimes 'pick one' and leave the other. It just meant more care we had to give. We carried water to him wherever he was standing. He was finding it more and more difficult to get around. He seemed confused.
He's eating apples. I knew way back when, that with time and patience, I could probably make this little guy trust me. I just didn't want it to be because he was too weak to do otherwise.
I knew what was happening, but I didn't want to think about it. His apple chunks were smaller so he could chew them better. His water was brought to his side. I thought about deer that run for their lives to survive. This little guy could have a safe life forever, but it wasn't going to happen. He was so sweet, so trusting. What else could he be?
I couldn't resist. He had to know that he was loved. So I reached out and pet his nose. He lifted his head to meet the kindness given to him. My heart fell to my stomach. I continued to show him compassion, asking God to not let him suffer. Don went and got some alfalfa. It was going to be cold that night, and we wanted him to bed down in the hay. At least he would be pretty much sheltered from the wind here.
Picture taken January 9, 2011
The above photo is the last I took of my little deer friend. He was sick. In confusion, he would turn in a circle to the right. He would stop to eat a little, but turn again. I prayed he would stay on the hay during the night. I had called the Game Commision that day. It was January 9, 2011. I knew he was suffering. My photos may not show the pain, but it was there. He was limping, and it was getting worse. He walked away from the hay once, making a bigger circle. I would watch him from the kitchen window. I walked outside, and led him back over to the hay.
Tears, there were many. There always are in cases like this. I admire so much people that care and rescue animals. How you do it all the time, I'll never understand. It is good to know you helped an animal, if even for a short time; that's what I tell myself. I know that some people don't understand the emotion - that's alright. It's who you are, I guess. I have enough emotion that I think God forgot to monitor it when he was making my character and it overflowed. He must have figured I could handle it. Doesn't make a lot of sense when you raise cattle like we do. I guess I figure that at least while they are in our care, they are happy.
That night, my little deer joined the other numerous animals that I'm planning on taking care of in heaven some day. At least he died in his sleep, and didn't have to be put down. The Game Commision came out and got him. It sounds like it might be a brain worm thing, they get it from eating snails in the grass. We are waiting for results. Have you ever seen the movie, "Powder"? You should. If everyone really felt what an animal feels, there would sure be alot of happier animals. I'm not saying God didn't provide animals for us and our needs....but there are good ways and bad ways of that process. Just like there are good people and bad people. I'll keep giving my heart to the cows, the deer, all the animals.
My little friend on November 18, 2010. If you have animals in your care, care for them.
It was a hard time when Josh told me the deer had died during the night. But I knew it was going to happen. That is life. But Josh was on his way into town with Josie, and that morning would begin a good day. By the end of the day, I would have another Grandchild.
Logan James Freiberger
was born January 10, 2011
Cadence is well pleased with her little baby brother.