Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Tender Hearted Tenderfeet
There's nothing more helpless than a newborn fawn.
Except for a group of well-meaning but ignorant adult humans who would like to help that fawn but don't know how.
None of us would have noticed the little guy above if a neighbor's dog on an exercise walk with his master hadn't snuffled it up next to the driveway of the house just down the hill. The master knocked on my door to let me know it was there and left me to wonder what to do about it.
Our friend who lives across the street likes to feed the deer who visit her yard, so I consulted her. She didn't know, but she and her husband headed down for a look.
As they approached, the owner of the driveway sailed up in his Jeep and careened into the driveway, scattering gravel on the baby, which didn't move. He slapped his forehead when he was shown how close he'd come, but he didn't know what to do either except keep his dogs penned up.
More neighbors gathered, and if iPhone cameras could have saved our Bambi he'd have been home free a dozen times over. But they couldn't, of course, and he wasn't. He was still as stone. We wondered if he was crippled or sick and had been left to die.
Then I remembered that the game warden lived just a block away and that we might find him in since it was Sunday. His little girl went to playschool last year with Elizabeth, and we know his wife a bit.
So I walked down to his house and got him out of bed. He's often out late keeping troublesome bears away from the dumpsters. He looked a little rumpled, but when I told him what I wanted he managed a tolerant smile.
"Just leave it alone," he said. "Doe's often leave their fawns alone while they go off to eat. Their best defense while they're alone is not to move a muscle no matter what. Mama will be back for her in a little while if you just stay away."
I brought the news back to the group, and everybody nodded sagely and drifted back with our benevolent intentions to our coffee. A couple of hours later, Bambi was gone.
It's sweet to learn in a tough situation that the smart play is to do nothing at all.