by Tao Oliveto, Carrboro, NC
Yesterday afternoon, I was walking with my dogs along a wooded road and we all saw it at the same time – 4 legs, moving in the air from behind an old fallen log. It was a young deer, completely upside down and trying, weakly, to right itself. The dogs looked up at me as if to say, â€œWhat now?â€ I wasnâ€™t sure, but we turned and ran the half mile back to the house to my phone. A 911 call sent an animal control officer to meet me.
I bicycled back to the spot, but no deer. The animal control officer arrived shortly afterwards and I explained the situation. I walked through the woods, searching for about 10 minutes as the officer waited by his truck. I was partly relieved that the animal had been able to get up and walk away, but seeing it in such a precarious position earlier made me greatly worried about its condition. The officer left, but I couldn’t bring myself to do the same. I then called NC-Claws (a number I keep in my cell phone), a volunteer group licensed to work with injured wildlife, and left a message – but without much hope of finding them available.
Next, I called my twin sister, Beth, in Nevada and asked her to communicate with this deer and find out about itâ€™s condition. (Yes, she can and does communicate telepathically with animals – please keep reading!)Â Beth told me she would let the deer know that if it needed help, it should do something to be seen or heard. I hung up and waited.
In around two minutes, I heard the bushes rustle and then watched in surprise as the fawn walked towards me, wobbling and stumbling with the effort. It looked at me from a distance of about 15 feet and then fell to the ground.
A closer look revealed cuts on its head, back and legs. I sat down a few feet away. I was encouraged that her head was still up and she even started to lick her injured shoulder, but she also seemed to be fading in and out of consciousness. I spoke quiet words of encouragement, my heart aching. When flies started to buzz around her wounds, I was determined that she would not die alone.
I was now sitting next to her, wondering how I could help. More time passed. Since the deer did not seem afraid, I reached out and put my hand gently on her back. She opened her eyes fully and reached her nose towards me, sniffing all the way up to my shoulder. I was now holding her head in my arm and stroking her face, ears and neck. She closed her eyes now and then, but mostly gazed up at me.
It had been over an hour since I had first seen her. We both started a bit when my cell phone buzzed – it was the wildlife rescuers, saying they could be there in 20 minutes. They were there in 15. I had made another call to Beth, asking her to convince this injured animal that the new people were coming to help her. When they arrived, the poor thing did struggle to her feet to flee, but something made her then stop and allow herself to be picked up and carried to the waiting van.
These two dedicated people took time to explain the details of the care they would provide and how to contact them for information. I stood for a long while after they drove away, some of it spent on the phone to thank my sister for being there. Some of it, I spent simply staring into the trees, thinking about love, trust and nature.