Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A Deer Called Daisy (June 9-11)

This is one story that definitely has to be told…..the rarest of experiences that is one of our biggest highlights so far….

We didn’t want to leave Yosemite after experiencing its magnificence but time was pushing us forward and so we decided to find a local campsite and leave the area first thing in the morning. It was a spontaneous decision to stop at a local sushi bar in the main street of a small town called Oakhurst just outside of the National Park. This one was nothing to rave about, but as it turned out the food for once, was not the centre of attention and I (Sal) didn’t even get to eat the sushi!We were sitting against the window inside this tiny sushi restaurant on the main street of Oakhurst and in the moment our meal was served we could not believe what we saw….a baby deer scattered frantically past the window, running as if it was injured. Tim with his big heart immediately went outside to see where it had gone and I followed soon after, to discover Tim was holding the deer. He had managed to pick it up from where it was hiding in shock behind one of the car wheels. The poor thing didn’t even struggle.

The big question….where was its Mum? The other question….what do we do with it now? I figured there must be some form of animal shelter or rescue program around, especially with being so close to the National Park. All I could come up with after searching the phone book was a number for animal control and after calling them was told the Sherriff was on his way. Okay! We all knew at that point what was going to happen to the deer! For those of you who know me well, know that you pretty much can’t get a bigger animal lover than me (and that has also rubbed off on Tim big time) so I was beside myself. I couldn’t imagine anything else the Sherriff would do at 9pm at night other than take it away and shoot it.

Now was the time to get the help of a local….there weren’t a whole lot of people around and everyone I asked were visiting. We were all out of ideas. I just wanted to protect this poor little fragile creature who had obviously lost its Mum and was potentially injured, possibly internally. Was this my maternal instincts kicking in? hehe.

While we were at a loss of what to do, a car pulled up directly in front of us with the headlights shining straight into the deer’s eyes. The lady got out of the car, very intrigued as to what was going on. We said we had found a deer and immediately she showed significant interest in its welfare. We were pretty shocked when she told us that she was a licensed animal carer and had experience in rehabilitating various animals. What are the chances!? It’s time’s like this that divine intervention seems fairly obvious.

She (Kandy) quickly determined that the deer was uninjured…sweet! Kandy asked me what we wanted to name her and the first word that sprung to mind was ‘Daisy’. Ok, so it’s not the most original name and probably slightly corny, but it stuck.

That night, the campsite idea was canned and we ended up parking on the Stanfield family property where we slept for 2 nights while helping to care for the new family addition. They were kind enough to take it in and thankfully the Sherriff was a good guy and agreed to allow it.

What an incredibly unique experience to be able to help care for this adorable creature that we discovered was not more than a few days old with the umbilical cord crust still evident. It became familiar with us extremely quickly and we grew attached in a short time. Thankfully the family had access to formula and we took turns in feeding her which proved to be a fun challenge. A man-made plastic teat was not quite the same as what she was used to and she would often prefer to try her luck on us for food…..sucking on our chin, neck, fingers and several times venturing beyond the ladies’ t-shirts. It was a good laugh!

A video of Daisy

When we all had to go out, Daisy was not happy about being left in the cage on her own and her cries, which sounded like a squeaky toy, were loud and clear. In the cage next door, were some orphaned kittens the family was also caring for and the obvious solution for Daisy’s lonliness was to put the kittens in with her. We tested the waters for a while to see how they would react to each other and while they were all a little unsure at first, it seemed they all became snuggle buddies! It was the most adorable thing to see a baby deer curled up with two kittens, all sleeping soundly. At 4am when Tim and I got up to feed Daisy, we found one of the kittens spr­­awled out on it’s back while Daisy rested her head on its belly!! All Tim and I could do was look at each other and laugh!! After all, wasn’t this the type of picture you only get sent to you in emails?

Unfortunately we didn’t get to spend time with most of the Stanfield family as they had a pre-planned trip away, but we did hang out with Chelsea, the 17yo daughter for majority of the time we were there. A genuine, fun chick who obviously had a natural gift in caring for animals. She offered to take us horse riding and despite our reluctance to leave Daisy we couldn’t pass up this chance. It was the first time both of us have ridden on our own and was an exhilarating feeling. I was a little nervous but still managed a trot while Tim naturally had to get his horse into a gallop. It was great getting onto a horse again for the first time in about 13 years….the last experience being a fall from one. Thankfully, this time left us both unscathed.

Leaving Oakhurst and Daisy was tough, but we knew that the longer we left it the more attached we would become. We needed to appreciate this experience for what it was, but not drag it out any longer because ultimately we were not able to put Daisy in our backpack and take her back to Oz! So we said our very sad goodbyes to Chelsea and Daisy and headed off….next stop Kings Canyon & Sequoia National Park.


Gwen Pittaway said...

that must have been such an amazing experience for both of you, she is soooooooo cute, I felt a bit emotional reading it, glad I shared some of it on skype with you, Loved the photo of you both laughing. all the photos on your blogs are great! you are both doing a great job keeping up with it.

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