by Robert Sachno from Pierrepont, NY
The story I’m writing to share with you happened a few years ago on our farm, which is on the American side of the St. Lawrence Valley.
One beautiful summer morning our dog Lucky and I went to check on our horses. The walk took us past our pond. In the summer, the pond is surrounded by tall grass and we often see wildlife in this area. That morning was no exception. Lucky the dog ran ahead of me and, as he did a deer stood up. The deer, which was a doe, stared at the dog and started moving toward it, head down. Clearly it was protecting something. Well, it didn’t take us long to figure out because soon, out from behind her mother, a small fawn deer jumped and started running in the other direction, away from her mother and toward the pond. The doe, dog and I watched in amazement as the little fawn dove into the pond head-first. It didn’t come up for 10 or 12 feet. When it finally surfaced it started swimming for the other side of the pond.
I stood there astonished at how well the fawn could swim. It couldn’t have been more than a few weeks old. But as I watched it I could see that it was getting weak. As the fawn neared my side of the pond I started thinking that I should grab it and pull out. But as soon as it saw me standing there it panicked and headed back towards its mother…who, of course, was on the opposite shore.
The fawn was now back in the middle of the pond and slowing down. It looked exhausted. I watched it try and when I saw it wasn’t going to make it I started running towards the other shore. The fawn, eventually, made it to within 10 feet of the shore. But the all I could see of it at this point was the top of its head. Everything else was completely limp.
By this point, what with me running and the dog barking, the mother deer had run off scared.
Without thinking I jumped into the pond and started pulling the fawn out. It wasn’t much bigger than a cat so it didn’t take much. It was as limp as a dishrag and water was pouring out of its mouth and nose. I let the water drain and quickly put its whole muzzle into my mouth.
I had no idea what to do next.
So I just blew into it’s muzzle for two seconds and then let the breath exhale. I did this for about 20 seconds and all of a sudden one of the fawn’s eyes shot open. It was only about two inches from my own eye. It started coughing up water and then, when it was done, it looked at me with both eyes. It didn’t look panicked or scared…it just stared at me.
The fawn didn’t seem to have any strength at all but I knew it would be okay. I layed it down back where it had been with its mother and curled it’s body into a sopping wet ball. Mom was nowhere to be seen but I knew she wasn’t far away…and that she certainly wouldn’t be coming any closer as long as I was on the scene.
Half an hour later I came back to check and their bed was empty.
I haven’t seen either of them since.