Day 29 of 31
We live in a neighborhood in New Jersey that has many deer roaming about. When fawns are born and before they are strong enough to keep up with the mama, the baby is left alone while the mom goes off to feed. The mother deer will stay away from the fawn so that predators won’t be drawn to the baby. The mom returns at dawn and dusk to feed the baby and will sometimes move it to another location.
Last spring we noticed that a baby deer was placed by its mom in the middle of our yard. My two youngest daughters were home from college (Thanks Covid) so we were all home to witness this. At first we mistook it for a brown spot in our yard but soon we realized it was actually a new born fawn. My baby animal loving daughters wanted to get close to get a picture but I told them they couldn’t go close to it. I was afraid that they would scare it or scare the mother away when she decided to return. The following day we noticed the baby was gone so we figured the mom had moved on with her baby. However we were incorrect.
The following night we used our grill to cook hot dogs and hamburgers. It was a warm spring evening and the four of us were having a leisurely dinner on the porch. Even our dog, Daisy, was enjoying her time on our screened in porch. As dinner ended my husband decided to go out onto the deck to make sure he turned off the grill. Daisy never goes out the screen door but she pushed her way through and ran to the side of the deck. We figured she was likely looking for the groundhog that lives under our deck, but we quickly realized that the mama deer had placed her baby at the edge of our deck.
What ensued was chaos. Daisy raced to the edge of the deck. The fawn jumped up and began to run. Daisy ran after the deer. My husband ran after Daisy and Emily, my youngest stabbed a hot dog with her fork and ran after everyone screaming, “Daisy, Daisy, I have a hot dog for you.” Daisy did not care. As they were running my middle daughter and I stayed on the deck and heard the saddest sound we have ever heard coming from that baby deer who was obviously calling for its mama. The deer ended up going into some bushes and Daisy became confused, so my daughter with the hot dog picked up Daisy and brought her back to the house. We could still hear the deer crying and then it stopped.
My daughters asked if we thought the baby was ok and we lied and said yes. The next day we looked for the fawn and did not see it. My husband and I both thought that the baby may not have found its mom but we kept that to ourselves. The following day I woke up and looked out my window to see the fawn snuggled under a tree on the edge of our yard. I yelled for the girls and my husband to come see. We realized that all of us thought that the baby was lost, or worse, but none of us wanted to say it aloud. The next morning it was back in the original spot in the middle of our yard.
Someone recently told me that each year when the mom has her babies she will place them in the same area as the previous year. I really hope that’s true. This time we will make sure Daisy doesn’t get out.