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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Deer can kill dogs...and people!

The doe in the driveway looked harmless, but now we know differently. So does Lizzie.

My dog had been poking around for a squirrel in the bushes at the edge of the driveway when suddenly a doe blasted out of the brush, kicked Lizzie in the groin, then head-butted her, and then chased her toward our barn. I stood watching, aghast, trying to process what I was seeing.

Apparently the doe had a fawn tucked in the ferns and wanted Lizzie to keep out. So instead of waiting for Lizzie to stumble upon the fawn, the doe turned aggressive and charged Lizzie, taking her totally by surprise.

We didn't realize the extent of her injuries till five hours later that night when Lizzie became lethargic and shocky. Her gums were pale and tacky, she had minor swelling in her abdomen, and she could hardly move. An emergency call from the vet assured us that she'd probably do okay till morning, when we could bring her in to the clinic. In the meantime, we iced the swelling and dabbed triple antibiotic ointment on the deep scratches at the inside top of her hind leg.

Next morning's x-rays revealed no broken bones. It was just a soft-tissue bruise. Lizzie recovered completely after a day's rest, and got the vet's blessing to run an agility trial that next weekend.

We now realize the deer that once seemed "friendly" as it followed us up and down the driveway on daily walks was actually stalking us...laying down her boundaries. It was a good eye-opener for us. Did you know that whitetail deer kill more humans than any other animal in this country? Their strikes and kicks are hard enough to kill people, and they do.

Lizzie was lucky Her experience also taught her humans to be more careful in the woods too, especially during fawn season.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

This ain't no joke. A doe will attack viciously if she thinks her fawn may be in danger. I had one chase my Jack Russell Terrier female up on the deck on the back of the house after charging her for a good 300 yards or more. The doe stopped at the steps, planted her hoofs, and lowered her head as if to say, "Try me little white one, and I'll crush you like a bug!" After a short standoff she slowly walked away, but the gun was still cocked and ready to fire at the first sign of aggression. Although a human's chance of being killed by a doe could be likened to your chances of getting killed by a shark -- it still happens almost every year that someone, somewhere, underestimates the power of Bambi's spindly legs.