I was surprised this morning to see Emmie, one of our Anatolian livestock guardian dogs, barking at our alpaca stud, Novio, as she chased him along the fence line. This is not a behavior she usually does. I stood at the window for a second watching before I noticed a smallish sized animal with very long legs also running along the fence line after Emmie. My first thought was one of the alpacas must have given birth early this morning as I have 3 that I am expecting to birth any day now. But, something wasn't right... the neck of this long legged creature was too short to be an alpaca. I squinted my eyes up with disbelief... this was a fawn! A very tiny fawn... inside the woven wire fencing of our pasture.
I slipped on the barn boots and headed out to the pasture to confirm what I had seen. All the alpacas in the pasture were standing off to one side watching this little foreign creature in their pasture. Emmie and Berk, our LGDs, were following close behind what was most defiantly a newborn deer fawn. How it got into the pasture is beyond me and I wasn't quite sure what I should do about it. I tried at first to catch it but it just continued to run from me and slam itself into the fencing so I quickly gave up the chase.
Back at the house I called the local animal control office but had to leave a message since they weren't open yet. I waited 10-15 minutes but really felt I needed to do something, anything, to help this fawn. It didn't take long to do a search on the internet to find a name of a wildlife rehabilitator here in North Carolina. I called and spoke with the rehab person and was told to catch the fawn and put it into the woods and was assured that the mother would find it.
So, out to the pasture I go. I don't see the fawn running around anymore. But Emmie is laying quietly in the grass so I go over to see her. As I get closer I can see the fawn in the grass at Emmie's feet safe and sound. As I get even closer Emmie starts in with a low growl and shows her teeth. She has decided that this fawn is her charge and is protecting it... even from me.
With no hope of reaching in to get the fawn without Emmie removing part of my arm I headed back to the barn. I hadn't fed the dogs yet this morning and I hoped that food would tempt Emmie away from the fawn. It worked, but not easily, she did not want to leave the fawn alone in the field but her empty stomach won in the end. Emmie came down to the barn and I locked her up in the stall with her brother to eat like I do every morning.
Back out at the fawn I went and very slowly as I was afraid it would pop up and run without Emmie there. But no it lay still as I reached down to pick it up. I tucked its little legs in tight to make it feel safe while I carried it. I stood not 20 feet from the wood but our 6 foot high woven wire was between it and me and no gate. We had to walk away from the wood toward the barn, go through the gate there and then walk all the way around the pasture to get to the other side of the fence by the wood. I went about 50 feet into the wood and found an open space in the trees that still had some cover. I put the fawn down and because I could feel it want to bolt away I held it firm to the ground until it relaxed. I stepped back and the fawn stayed still for a moment and then slowly raised up and made its way into the brush.
I truly hope the doe finds her fawn once all is quiet and our scent is cold. But I never will know for sure...