Last night on my way to the grocery store after three miles of dirt roads to get to town, I saw a little deer on the side of the road – it wanted me to spot him/her. He was injured. On a horse, the spot would be the stifle – and therefore the hoof wasn’t working yet there was a great amount of bend on the stifle itself. I stopped. This was not a frightened deer.
While I couldn’t say if I had sat there for very long that the deer would have eaten out of my hand, I will say – this deer wasn’t intimidated by me. It wanted me to see him. I heard gun shots all day I couldn’t help but to think that it was a gunshot wound and of course I made up that it lost its mother to a hunter.
The wound wasn’t fresh, it wasn’t even oozing. Swollen, yes. And this little deer was definitely negotiating the hind leg like it had figured this out. I stopped; felt awful made a few phone calls and carried on with my grocery store mission.
When I came home, I called Paws.org only to discover that they won’t be open until the a.m. I contacted other groups and learned a lot.
I thought to myself, I have an empty stall, I could rehab. However, this deer is two miles away. How would I get this adolescent deer into a horse trailer if I could talk a friend into helping me?
I kept calling, only to discover lots about deer. I really thought about the deer video I posted a week and a half ago – a deer as a pet. I thought heck – I’m already octomom of horses, dogs, cats, what a deer is going to break me? Not.
The truth is my better instinct kicked in. I watched the deer, he had little safe spots. Someone (can’t remember whether it was Sarvey Wildlife Center or the Second Chance Wildlife Care Center in Arlington, or possibly even another group) thought that because I got out of the car and so close to the deer, perhaps it already had been fed by humans.
I also thought to myself at some point, live and let live – definitely do not chase – 6:00 pm Sunday night in Carnation is not high traffic, yet, I would hate to be trying to do something and drive the deer into traffic.
No matter how painful it is, nature has a way of correcting itself. As sweet as this deer was, the doe eyes – yet youthful, those crazy radar ears, the sweetness of the being, this deer has its own trajectory, contract, outcome that I have nothing to do with. Today I made an impact the size of one breath saying I’d love to help you and I could feel it acknowledge my intent by not running off.
However, and this is why I write this, I learned tonight by wildlife experts there is actually a disease – I believe called White Muscle disease that occurs for injured deer. You see a deer that has no experience with humans that is beyond the spotted stage (this deer was beyond the spotted stage – probably between 4-7 months) will not imprint to humans for help.
So baby still with spots orphan deer can do well in our environment and be fine to return to the wild after a few bottles. Any other deer can go into fight or flight and never come out of that state. They will fight and fight – even if I had a horse trailer with me – I would have sparked perhaps the onset of a disease. Once they are no longer in this fight state – it still triggers this disease. This bizarre disease or condition is called: ‘white muscle’ (or something like that) disease and it makes the muscles break down and eat themselves from staying in flight mode for too long.
As long as it is exposed to the condition that created the flight or fight status, it will not come out of that state.
I’m glad my instinct had me observe from a far this particular deer’s activity as I watched it go into a pasture through the opening in a fence. This was not new, it was familiar. I know where this deer is even now, not far from what it obviously perceives as a safe spot.
My guess is based on horse knowledge is that something in the hoof is not working based on the puncture (bullet) wound to the stifle area. The woman on the phone at Sarvey said we can only hope that area is a safe spot for that deer and that it will heal itself. A tendon or ligament injury like that takes time and we’ll see how kind this winter is.
I will say this about that deer, it is very smart and intuitive. It hid for other cars, but not for me. It found an exact spot in a barbed wire fence to fit through. It was eating leaves and grass under the frost every time I got close. And it was not skinny.
We just lost our Animal Control here due to lack of funding – so calling them was not an option. If the deer were in worse shape – Game and Wildlife would have been the right call. Because the wound wasn’t fresh, this deer has figured something out –
I had to look up in Ted Andrews Animal Speak – Deer: Gentleness and Innocence – Gentle Luring to New Adventure.
The wound wasn’t brand new and it wasn’t terribly old. Let’s see that wound heal, the hoof work and that deer carry on. And by reading this – you’ve been exposed to your own possible gentle admission of your new adventure……….what will that be in this New Year?