If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you know that a deer came to visit last Monday. We were heading out on our mid-morning dog walk and I turned around to see what was holding up Jolene, our Corgi-Russell mix. There stood a four-point buck in the middle of the road.
Deer are not an unusual site in our neighborhood south of Newton. We see them a lot, especially in fall and winter when they come calling for acorns. But on a drizzly August morning? A deer following me? That’s pretty unusual. Since we were heading toward a busy road, we turned around and walked back home. The Mr. Four Point followed as if he was our pet.
We had never seen a tamer deer outside a petting zoo. He let me pet his head and feel his mossy antlers. When we arrived at the house, he sauntered up to the front door. Tym brought out a dish of dog food, which he much appreciated.
I know. We’re not supposed to feed wildlife, but this fellow had apparently been around friendly humans a while.
A spot on his left flank told me that he might have been injured and taken in as a fawn. Maybe he was a pet who had strayed or otherwise been dumped into our neighborhood. We see wildlife all the time—herds of deer, three pairs of crows, a hawk, gaggles of wild turkeys, but until last Monday, no tame deer.
Social media is an amazing thing when it comes to lost animals. Our neighbors marveled at the pictures of Mr. Four Point. One Facebooker said she had seen a video taken on Sigmon Dairy Road the day before.
I checked. Sure enough, it was the same deer. I could tell by the pattern of his rack.
Nearly everyone who’s seen the pictures or heard our deer story has warned us about feeding the deer. Yes, when hunting season arrives, he could wind up as venison. I know that as well as I know that someone, somehow has intervened to befriend him over the past couple of years.
I was amazed at how dog-like he was—like a Great Dane with a pinhead on stilts. His ears felt like thin cardboard and his antlers were flocked with stubble—velvet it’s called. Seeing this up-close was new to me.
Mr. Four Point moseyed around the house Monday, to the patio, sniffed the door to the screened porch. I’m sure he would have liked to have come in and bedded down. I have no doubt he would have stepped inside if given the chance. So how do you housebreak a deer? How do you take him to the vet? Do you fit him with a collar and leash?
This animal has known only human kindness and he’s roaming—at least two miles by my calculation.
But why did this animal show up at this time in this place? The internet offers symbolic meaning for animal “totems.” Native Americans and Celtic people have this all figured out. . Deer mean peace, innocence, the opening of new doors.
When deer are close by, so are the angels.
All I know is that if we’d opened a door, Mr. Deer would have likely come in. I can picture Mr. Four Point on the couch, nibbling snacks off the counter, then bedded down on the carpet, while the dogs looked on, waiting for the next miraculous thing to happen.