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Tiny, a Fawn

Updated on May 21, 2017
Marsei profile image

I have lived in a suburb of New Orleans for 40 years. I work at home with my two cats, Lucy and General, and my husband of 50 years, Joe.

Pure Love

About three or four times a year, Joe and I leave New Orleans and go to our cabin in Arkansas where we forget that we are 66 and 67 and fly through the woods on our four-wheelers, brave the night creatures to make orb photos, and enjoy life.

Last summer, we spent five days at the cabin. One day we decided to take a four-wheel ride in the middle of the afternoon. We started off down the dirt trail to the "Old Carlton place." If you're familiar with country life in Arkansas, you know that everything has a name: The dirt pit, palmetto flats, high mound, etc. Anyway, we were headed to what's called "the bottoms." I was following Joe and looking at the glorious foliage around us when he suddenly stopped short, causing me to have to push my hand brake with all my might in order to stop.

As he got off his bike, I thought he was having trouble with his four-wheeler, a flat tire or maybe a branch caught in a wheel. Then I saw him looking at something on the ground and the horrified look on his face. I got off my bike and hurried over. There on the ground lay the tiniest deer either of us had ever seen. It was lying perfectly still, eyes wide open, breathing steadily, but not moving at all. He must have been lying in the trail when Joe hit him.

Now, Joe has been hunting in those woods since he was 9 years old. He will shoot a legal buck without a qualm but would never harm a baby like this. He is devastated, filled with guilt. We back slowly away and sit on the bikes out of site for a long time, hoping the mother might come for him. We don't want to go too far because the woods are full of coyotes and he would be a tiny snack they'd love. Finally I go back, get off my bike, and pick up the little guy. I don't know why, but from the first, I thought it was a guy. He's still not moving. Joe holds him as we ride back to the cabin, which is next door to the deer camp Joe belongs to. We take him inside and examine him. There are no visible wounds on his little body. The whole time we are looking him over, he is gazing directly into our eyes.

Beautiful Baby Deer

Grim Outlook, but . . .

When we raise the fawn's leg and let it go, it flops back on to the bed. We are both so terribly sad that he is not doing well. Joe holds him a while, then I do. He offers no resistance, just looks at us with those huge brown eyes. Joe is overcome with guilt and walks outside. I decide to call a local vet who tells me to try feeding him some milk after warming it on the stove top. I do, with no luck. The milk dribbles down the sides of his mouth. He does nothing but stare.

To say our hearts are heavy that night is an injustice. We are very sad. We put the tiny creature in the bathroom on a blanket. We have called four vets and none of them are willing to go in to the nearest town and meet us at their office on a holiday weekend. We got to bed early that night, sad beyond belief because we think our little friend is going to die during the night. At 1:00 o'clock, I hear a tapping noise that I've never heard before. It's coming from the bathroom. When I peek in the door, there in the middle of the room is the tiny deer. He is standing up! His legs slide this way and that, but he is definitely standing. He is not at all afraid of me, just glances at me and tries to walk a step or two. I wake Joe up and he is ecstatic. We heat some milk and this time he sucks so hard it make a loud noise as he gulps the milk. After he finishes his bottle, he goes to his blanket and lies down. We go back to bed, happy beyond belief. Later, we are told by several people that he was likely in shock and was never seriously hurt.

The next morning, we realize we have a problem. There is no way we can keep this little fawn. We have the most ill-tempered cat in the world who is already not happy with this situation, and we have a feral cat in our backyard, who is the bastard cat's mother. We have our hands full, and we are not equipped for deer. I get on the Internet and discover that there are people called wildlife rehabilitators who care for animals like the one we've named Baby Boy, through lack of any original thinking on our part. We find a lady who is just across the line in Louisiana. It's a roller-coaster ride because as much as we know we can't keep him, we have grown far too attached to the winsome little creature.

Wonder of New Life

Saying Good-bye

We take Baby Boy outside and let him walk around the area in front of the camp. He is very unsteady on his feet. He does not want to be more than a foot or two away from one of us, which touches us ridiculously. He thinks we are his mothers, I'm sure.

We call the rehabilitator and make arrangements to bring him to her. Holding him on the way to her house was something I look back on as a privilege. To be so close to something so breathtakingly beautiful and so completely wild was a very strange and sobering thing. I said many prayers then and have since that he avoids the guns of hunters like my husband.

We drive for almost an hour, then turn on a dirt road. At the end of the road is a mobile home. It is surrounded by fenced property. We meet the lady who will care for Baby Boy, and who will name him "Tiny." She takes Tiny in her arms as though it's the most natural thing in the world. She says in a matter of fact tone: He was born in the last two or three days. After talking about everything we can think of to tell her and ask her, we admonish her to stay in touch and head back to the cabin. Both of us are very quiet and I shed a tear or two. I'm sure Joe did too, but he always says he has something in his eye.

I have talked to Pat, the lady who cares for Tiny a few times since that day. She said she kept him in their spare bathroom for a long time and that he would come to their bedroom at night to get them when he was hungry. They could hear his hooves clicking on the trailer floor. Tiny won her husband's heart and she said he would feed him his bottles while she worked the night shift at her job. She eventually moved him outdoors into one of the fenced-in areas and herds him with her horses. She believes that he will likely jump the fence this fall during the rut and answer nature's call.

I don't want to visit him. I want to always remember him as the gorgeous little creature who won our hearts in the span of 24 hours and gave us such wonderful memories of that summer.

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    • Nettlemere profile image

      Nettlemere 5 years ago from Burnley, Lancashire, UK

      I loved reading this. I think you did just the right thing waiting to see if his mum would come back and then taking him in because you feared he was injured. It must have been hard to pass him on to the animal rehabilitator - but you gave him the best chance of survival that way.

    • Marsei profile image
      Author

      Sue Pratt 5 years ago from New Orleans

      Hi, Nettlemere.

      I am so glad you said that. I have often wondered if we'd left him, if his mother would have come back. There are just so many coyotes in that area, we were afraid to leave him there so vulnerable. I still dream about him every once in a while.

      Thanks you again for your comments.

      marsei

    • Marsei profile image
      Author

      Sue Pratt 5 years ago from New Orleans

      Beth,

      Thank you for reading and commenting. I loved writing this story. It brought back such sweet memories. I have a feeling baby boy will sire many fawns! I'm sure he grew into a magnificent buck. Thanks again.

      Marsei

    • Parks McCants profile image

      Parks McCants 5 years ago from Eugene Oregon U.S.A.

      Thank you marsei,beautifull photos. I have a family or so on my property. Fun to watch, tough to keep out of the flower beds. What a wonderful experience! Voted up...

    • Marsei profile image
      Author

      Sue Pratt 5 years ago from New Orleans

      Thank you, Parks, for your comments. It really was

      quite an experience, something to remember when things get humdrum.

      Thanks again,

      marsei

    • anndavis25 profile image

      anndavis25 5 years ago from Clearwater, Fl.

      Hi Marsei, I was right there with you. A heart warming story.

      Up and beautiful. Ann Davis

    • Marsei profile image
      Author

      Sue Pratt 5 years ago from New Orleans

      Hi, Ann.

      Thanks so much. Left me with lots of good memories.

      Was quite an adventure.

      marsei

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      I got 'something in my eye' too when I was reading this! lol! you did everything right, waiting for the mother, then taking baby boy in like that. How wonderful, and the photos are amazing. What a great experience! and to know that he is going to be okay too is fantastic! voted up and away!

    • Marsei profile image
      Author

      Sue Pratt 5 years ago from New Orleans

      Thank you, Nell. That was such an exciting thing. We both felt so special just to get to hold him. Eyes to get lost in!

      Thanks again.

      Marsei

    • profile image

      Kathy H. 5 years ago

      This is a beautifully written story, and the pictures are lovely. Thank you for sharing with us this sweet moment in time.

    • Marsei profile image
      Author

      Sue Pratt 5 years ago from New Orleans

      Thank you, Kathy.

      Hoping for another adventure when we go back in few weeks, although I'd prefer not wounding another animal!

    • angie ashbourne profile image

      angie ashbourne 5 years ago

      Hi! Beautiful story. Vote up Angie

    • Marsei profile image
      Author

      Sue Pratt 5 years ago from New Orleans

      Hi, Angie.

      I'm glad you liked it. Thanks for taking time to comment.

      marsei

    • Highland Terrier profile image

      Highland Terrier 5 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      A very nice experience for you and thank you for sharing.

      But why does your husband hunt? Do you need the meat?

      There surely can not be any pleasure in shooting a harmless animal for sport.

    • Marsei profile image
      Author

      Sue Pratt 5 years ago from New Orleans

      Highland Terrier,

      Thanks for reading my story. As far as why my husband hunts, he's hunted since he was 9 years old. We do use the venison, although we don't "need" it. I have presented every argument you could possibly think of against hunting, but it's been part of his life for too long, too many friends and too much history at the camp. To elaborate on my answer is pointless. It is part of who he is. Although he spends countless hours of his life doing community service work, he is, like me, far from perfect.

      Thank you again for reading.

      marsei

    • Sherry Hewins profile image

      Sherry Hewins 5 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      What a nice story. My cat brought in a baby bird today, I got it away from him and it was alive. I didn't think I could take care of it, so I too called a wildlife rehabilitator. I hope his story ends as well as your baby's did.

    • Marsei profile image
      Author

      Sue Pratt 5 years ago from New Orleans

      Thank you, Sherry. Fingers are crossed for your bird. I thought your question was very thought-provoking about the childhood memory. I never was close to my dad, so its interesting that my best memory is of him.

      I picture our little guy running through the woods, a full-grown buck.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey

      Okay, I'm sold. Will be checking out more of your work. Thanks for sharing your story of Baby Boy (Tiny) and letting us share in the time you had with him. You have a story-telling knack.

    • Marsei profile image
      Author

      Sue Pratt 3 years ago from New Orleans

      Thank you, RTalloni. I remember every moment of that story and holding that little guy was one of the great honors of my life. Seriously, he was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. Thank you for your comments; I do love to tell a story!

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