Friday, February 27, 2009

Of deer and dogs

Mickey makes his way to the French doors in the dining room every evening, right before it gets really dark.

The direction his long nose takes and his kind eyes reveal what holds his interest. He is scanning, carefully, the woods on the hill behind our house. Every night, now, he comes.

I know what he's looking for and it causes a whimsical smile to cross my face.

Mickey is part-Dachshund (standard size) and he is all boy!

When we had about a foot snow, there was a day when I was outside and heard barking up behind the house. I walked to that side, and saw such a delightful scene.

Two little does that inhabit our woods (we wonder if they were "calved" up there last year) were nuzzling through snow, looking for acorns on the other side of the cross-fence Pete had erected to keep the dogs on the lower half of the property.

Mickey, ever-exuberant Mickey, was goading and teasing the largest of the deer to play with him. He raced back and forth along the fenceline, barking as he went, and she would sweep down from the bunch of trees where she'd sought refuge, charging at him as he ran past.

Soon, she was matching him leap for leap, she on the uphill side of the fence, he on the lower, they ran back and forth, only a few feet separating them, in a match of joie de vivre.

I couldn't believe my eyes, to be offered such delights to watch. I hobbled to the house and told Pete to "Quick, look out the back window!" He did, incredulous, as well, at the sight of these two strange playmates.

That night, they played for about 20 minutes, until both tired and the darkness settled in.

I watched over the next few evenings as Mickey came to the window in the door, scanning that hill for his "pals."

One evening, we were driving home from town, and a quarter-mile down the road from our house, we saw the two little does crossing the road, leaving the creek where they'd watered and heading up the hill. I wondered if they were going to our house to play with Mickey.

Sure enough, later on, Mickey let me know the deer were out there, so I opened the French doors and let him out. Speeding up the hill toward the deer on the other side of the fence, he startled the bigger doe, who jumped the chain-link, perimeter fence into our neighbor's yard.

How amazed was I when I next saw her immediately return and jump back IN to our property! She began again to race back and forth with our little black "whirling dervish" of a dog. They truly were the picture of "fun!"

Each night, now, again Mickey is at the doors, same time, each night.

Last night, I only saw the smaller doe, the one who had never played with him. I let him out, he chased her a few feet til she easily flew over the dog fence, and then, to my wonder, she began learning how to play with him, too. She never got to the point of racing back and forth with him, but she charged him playfully from out of the trees, retreating back to her shelter of oaks when he'd run a distance from her, and charging back out at him, coming within 2 feet of him, when he'd race back, barking.

I have tried to take pictures of this, but there is not enough light that time of night. I have lived with dogs and deer all my life and I have never seen anything like this before. And the deer have good instincts...even tho' Mickey would chase them for all he is worth, I don't believe he'd hurt them if he had the chance. To him, it's all in good fun, and I guess even deer need a little amusement to pass the time until the days grow longer, the green grasses fill their bellies and life doesn't mean full-time searching for soggy, tasteless acorns upon which to subsist.

I've included a photo here of the larger of the two small does, the one who really knows how to have a good time! She is poised at the gate in the cross-fence which serves as her playground with our silly dog.


One Sick Mother said...

What a great story! It made me smile. I am so glad Mickey found a friend (or two!). And there is a great lesson there to learn:

Sometimes the best of friends are the unlikliest of "people" found in the the oddest of places.

I am going to share this piece with my kids.

Chuck Martin said...


Arn't dogs wonderful creatures. I think the Lord put them here to amuse and befriend us. Each morning, at the same precise time, if I'm lingering over coffee or some such, Tinker will look up at me like, "Hey, it's time," and run towrds my office. I know if I don't follow she'll be back, so I get up and get in there. She lays behind me watching me write. I am her master and she is my wonderful friend.

When I get writers block I can always read one of these stories of yours, or read one of your poems, and something will come to mind out of my past to write about.

Thank you for that...

Love & Blessings,