Lessons – Life is worth it

Sunday (1/10/2010):
This little guy had been visiting the farm for the last week or so. I would hear our dogs barking excitedly and then see them running around him. I’d call them in for breakfast to give him a chance to escape. Then on Saturday, my day off, the people doing chores had our 2 dogs and their 2 dogs out and all 4 had this fellow pinned down. He was so stressed he just lay there, not moving.
When they went to see if he was OK, they realized he was just skin and bones and although he looks fluffy in the photos, that is all fur. pinching the skin to see if he’s hydrated, well there’s really nothing to pinch. So they put him in a stall to get him out of the cold wind. None of us had seen any other deer with him during the last week or so, but there was a deer killed on the road nearby, maybe his mother?

When I went in today to check on him, he appeared to have passed away. There was no movement, no discernable breathing. Yet his body was not cold and stiff. The others had been giving him water and a little molasses. I thought perhaps I could share some of my juice. Beets/cucumber/celery/romaine/carrots. But as I gently lifted his head, the eyes were so sunken in and I couldn’t tell if he moved, or if the muscles were just twitching a little.

I tried giving him a tiny squirt, maybe 1 CC, and he gulped. I gave another and saw his neck move. What a fighter! He ended up taking 150 CC and actually started suckling on the syringe as I gave him the juice. He seemed to like it much better than the water or molasses he had earlier.

He can barely lift his head but is still urinating which is a good sign. A friend who is always rescuing animals came by and told us that this little guy probably has some sort of respiratory ailment and isn’t too hopeful for a recovery, but brought some feed in case he gets enough strength to take it and thought the veggie juice was a great idea.

We’ve got him loosely wrapped in a horse blanket and laying in a nice pile of hay now. I keep hoping to go in and find he’s tossed the blanket off, wild animals dont like to be trapped. I can tell the poor guy just feels so nasty. Hopefully even if he does not make it, he is more comfortable than he would be out in the cold wind, on the hard frozen ground. But hope springs eternal and you never know! 2 more hours and it’s time to go give him some more juice.

I feel really lucky to be able to have a chance to care for this creature. He’s got teeny tiny little antler nubs. I wonder how he thinks, what impressions, what images, flash through his mind. Does he feel emotion the way we do? I just have the sense that he has had a rough time, gone through a lot, and he keeps struggling to go on. I’m really glad to do what I can to give him a shot at it if that’s what he wants.

Life is beautiful, but sometimes the path is rough.

Monday (1/11/2010):
Well He didn’t make it through the night. He was still warm when I got in there, but was far away in spirit. I imagine wherever his travels take him, he is like this now:
I am sad and grateful that this little buck decided to spend his last time with us. Yes circumstances sort of forced it, but he had been around for the last week if not longer. I had tried to approach him because I sensed something was not right, and he kept running away, but he also kept coming back. There’s something powerful and moving in even being able to take part in another’s struggle for life or even make someone’s last hours of life more comfortable. When I was feeding him and stroking his head and neck, he would close his eyes and rest into my hand. I am honored and humbled.