My deer, dear, Star.
How are you?
We haven’t seen you since last winter and have been thinking of you a lot lately. We hope this letter finds you well. ❤️
It was this time of the year when we first met when the evening breeze was perfectly cool enough for a hike. As we were about to head home near dusk our dogs went into the bushes by the pond where there was bustles of sound which followed by your cry with a splash of water. My dear (or deer) animal loving husband (aka the deer daddy) went to see what was happening and he came out of the bushes holding a wet fawn that looked only few days old wrapped up in his t-shirt held tightly to his chest. We rushed to our house to get you dry as soon as possible.
I have never seen a live fawn that was so small and young as you. The fact that there is a live deer in my living room it seemed surreal to me.
Of course, I had seen the movie called Bambi and you looked just like him. So when my children surrounded you with sparkling, curious sets of eyes, either contemplating or shouting out possible names to call you, of course Bambi was one and then somebody called out Star. Because we have a tendency to call our furry friends after planets like Jupiter (R.I.P we miss you boy!) and Venus (and Chewie aka Chewbacca) the name Star seemed so fitting for you. Your white spots on your fur reminded me of the stars. And your sparkling set of round big black eyes with long eyelashes, so fragile and delicate yet so profoundly mesmerizing... you were one of the most beautiful creatures I have ever seen up so close and personal.
I also remember how still and quietly you sat in one spot as if you were expecting your mama to come get you. My rowdy children were nonstop about you and they probably never realized how truly a magical moment that they were sharing to have you in our lives and neither was I.
If anything, as a responsible grown up of this world and this thing that we live called life, I was scared for you. I didn’t know one single thing about taking care of a fawn that is so little and seemingly so fragile as you.
So we thought of putting back where we found you after you got dried. But then the possibility of having your mama never coming back for you because the scent of dogs were all over where you were hiding. I felt sorry for you and questioned our decision to bring you to our home. Maybe we should have let fate decided. How dare did we intervened and took you away from your home and your mama. But the choice was already made to be taken back. We just had to figure out a life with a baby deer as a new addition to our family and when it’s time we will let you go.
Although we didn’t know a single thing about taking care of a fawn like you, thanks to the modern technology called internet we learned that we can replace your mama’s milk with goat milk until you are ready to wean which is average of 70 days old. So we got you settled in on our best rug in the house with training mat on one hand and goat milk on the other.
We had never thought our Great Pyrenees Blue Venus (although she was a three month old baby herself), she instinctively knew how to take care of you as if you were her new favorite baby sister. She cleaned up after you, she licked any milk residues around your face. You two were quiet fascinating to watch! Bonding you two had was truly out of this world. And surely, reminiscing on how your deer daddy who had to give his bicep to you everytime it was feeding time, even though you got older, it just became funnier because whenever you saw him you would head butt his bicep asking for milk. I bet that’s how you would have asked for your milk from your real mama.
Oh what a memory! And of course we cannot forget how we had to help you to go pee and doo doo too, because that’s what mama deer would have done for you in the wild and our Blue Venus took care of you for us most of the times (well initially she did) and my dear deer loving hubby did it most other times, since I have three human children and a baby to take care. And I am so thankful for her such a nurturing nature I learned how she was able to just love and care without any animal pride and prejudice.
As you got older you needed more feeding less help with the bathroom. However now that you needed to go pee more frequently and that we have been “spoiling” you to stay on our best rug you started to pee on everything and anything that was cushioned, soft and flat. I try to catch it by running after you with a training mat but often times you were already done and leaving the scene.
You got bigger by the day and you started to venture and roam more around the house. But of course you tippy toed hooves were not meant for hard floors. You kept on slipping and sliding around every where that we had to make you walk ways around the house. Whenever you were not on the walk ways and not miserably slipping around I would hear your calm and collect dignified hooves steps echoing throughout the house. Gentle but firm then I would suddenly hear the sound of incoherent tapping noise of the floor followed by a thud. I go over to look and find you helplessly stretched out with your long lanky legs in all four directions, panting. Then we would have to help you pick yourself back on your pointy little hooves so you can get on your way again.
Soon you got used to walking around the hard floor and you also got used to us as well. You started to follow us around and knew to whom you need to go to for a bottle, to whom you to go to play with. You followed us outside to play and hang out and by the time when full summer hit us you didn’t need to be fed milk everyday any more. So you started to venture out into the wild on your own. I was glad that you are capable of adjusting back to the wild. I felt relieved and proud of you and us.
So the whole summer you were outside most of the time. We wanted you to get comfortable being in your real home so that when the time comes you can go make your own friends and maybe one day you can be a mama too. You came to see us every couple of days and you seemed to stay in close proximity. Because everytime you saw us outside you would come and see us. Then we would bring out a bottle or you would come inside for a feeding with some fruits to snack on. Your favorites were plums, strawberries, watermelons, grapes, apples and bananas. You would even eat cooked rice too.
Summer went by quickly and the weather started to cool down again and your starry spots started to fade a little. You were becoming a teenage doe.
One cool fall day I was folding the laundry with our front door wide open thinking of how you might be doing out there since we haven’t seen you for couple of days. As if you heard me thinking of you when I looked up, there you stood on the doorway with those big wide eyes looking at me. So I called out, “Star!” You came running into the house. I was so excited and glad to see you. Since you are back, as usual I start making you a bottle I noticed you were limping on one of your back leg. I just thought maybe you sprained it like we humans do. Didn’t think much about it until I squatted down to feed you, I saw something dangling inside of your thigh. I looked under your leg to see. Then I gasped with disbelief of what I was seeing your tender inner flesh was fully exposed and a big chunk of outer skin was just hanging loose. In a panic I called up my husband who was working downstairs. Could it have been a coyotes? Maybe dogs? Wolves? But she’s much too fast! Everytime Jupiter and Chewie tried to go after you, you always outran them both! I tried to reason what it could have done something so terrible to you. I mean after all we do live in the mountains and IT’S GOT TO BE other wild animal that prey on sweet little things and you just got lucky escaping from their chase.
That’s what I thought.
When the hubby (aka deer daddy) came upstairs we put you in our bathroom shower which was the most secluded from everyone. We tried to bandage it up hoping it might help, but you refused to let us. We thought of taking you to a vet but how will we put you in the car? Deer daddy looked at your leg with worrisome eyes trying to figure out what else we can do to help, then he found a hole on the outer side of your leg which was inflicted by a bullet.
What? A bullet wound? I couldn’t believe it! I felt so terribly sorry for you and I felt so ashamed and in a disbelief of the cruelty of the action and possibility of thoughts of who could have done it, why and how? It was not even a hunting season and you were still too small to be a target, yet, Why?
The question wouldn’t leave my head and my stomach churned with anxiety and angst.
Later my hubby explained that it looks like a .22 caliber, which is a smallest bullet that went straight thru from higher position towards downward trajectory. Luckily it didn’t hit your bone and was a “clean” shot so it didnt blow your leg off.
I didn’t know whether to be glad that it didn’t blow up your leg or anything worse? Maybe we should have put a collar on you so that people would know that you belong to somebody. Would that have helped and stopped the shooter from shooting you? I don’t know and honestly I don’t think so. And later we found out that it’s actually illegal to have wildlife such as deers to be cared as a pet and somebody can report to the police and they can come and shoot you. Your species is a completely okay to be “farmed” though because it’s legal. I know. It’s absurd but that’s the reality of our world that we have built and living in.
Few of our good friends that are big on hunting came to see you and they too said that what was done to you was a sheer act of ruthless cruelty which does not follow the hunters code of conduct. When you hunt any animal you do it quick and fast so they don’t suffer. That shot was completely and compellingly inhumane thing to do to any animal. But really, Why?
You were well cooped up for couple of days in the shower den. While you were immobile the children picked some of your favorite greens from the yard to nibble on with some fruits and bottles of milk since we couldn’t do anything for your wound. The least we could do was to feed you well. And everytime we went to feed you, you struggled to get up to move around and it was so painful to watch. All we could do was just pray you heal without an infection that you will be okay.
In about a week or so, we’ve noticed your inner skin started to look a bit better. It almost looked like meat jerky in the process of drying. And the whole incident made me and my family a weary of eating meat in general. We were already talking about eating more consciously before you came into our lives but now that a living being with a wounded leg showing inner flesh and all, it wasn’t just a thought any longer.
Your wound was well healed in about two weeks. The flabby skin got back on your flesh. And you were back to yourself again. Still playful, still a bit skittish because you are a deer with ears that can hear everything and anything and still loves to eat fruit, graze, run and leap.
By the time you were completely healed, it had already become fall. The weather started to get chilly and the leaves started to fall.
The days that you stayed out became longer. When you did come back to see us we would always bring you inside for some fruits and half a bottle of goat milk because you are not too interested in drinking it. But we still liked to give you some.
Gradually you came to us less and less and you started to forget who Blue was. You were starting to become a full wild deer.
The last time we saw you was one winter day. I remember feeding you some last bit of tangerines that was in the fridge. We haven’t gone grocery shop, so we didn’t have much to give you at that time. I let you out through our garage door on the cold winters day and as you walked outside I shouted to you,
“Bye, Star see you later!”
Since then we haven’t seen you, other than in our dreams, in pictures and our thoughts...
Whenever we see any deer tracks around our house we wonder if it was you that came by. Whenever we see any deer crossing we stop and call your name out. Our family friends ask us if we have seen you.
Wherever you are I just hope you are free, safe, happy and well, Star. Because now we look back on time we have spent together were no coincidence. I believe You were actually here to guide us, teach us and help us to understand what is truly important in life. That we must cherish every passing moment of our lives because everything here is temporary. And I am so grateful that you were part of our family and it was such a magical experience being your family to you. We will always cherish all the fond and unforgettable memories of you throughout our lives.
So thank you for everything Star!
We will always miss and love you! Hope you can come and see us soon!
With much love,
From The Sun Family 💕