Tale of a man too busy to help injured animal

Even with an injured leg a deer can still travel, and with all the free food in the orchards around us can survive quite well on three legs.

To the editor:

Our early morning walk in Lake Country was rudely interrupted recently as a dilapidated truck shot out of a side street and stopped inches from my canine companion Bruno and I. I had noticed the driver beside the closest house to us appearing to be inspecting it.

He shouted needlessly: “Do you have a cell phone?”

He berated me for not answering immediately when I started to walk away around the vehicle he had parked blocking both lanes of traffic. He started shouting at us again about seeing an injured deer near the home. I could see it now, a mule deer doe. Bruno moved for a better look. The driver commanded us not to approach her too closely, although he had been close enough to almost touch her. He claimed she had a broken leg, but I could see no sign of one. We started to leave in the direction of our home when the careless driver demanded to know where we were going and what I was going to do about the deer.

I asked him what he was going to do about it. He claimed he was late for a doctor’s appointment and couldn’t do anything. He averted his eyes from mine and stared at his shoes as he said it. I wondered how many service stations he would drive by on the way with phones and whether his doctor had one. That is when he started name-calling and cursing. I looked at the big dog on the seat beside him and decided the man was not a resident of the area. I had seen him before on our walks. He was the type of pet owner who gives the responsible ones a bad reputation. He drives to deserted areas and allows his pet to run free to do its daily business without having to pick up after it. There was such an area at the end of the street he had come down.

Bruno and I headed for home again, a ten minute walk away. Clearly upset with my lack of interest in anything he had to say the driver sped past us, twirling a finger around his ear as if to say that I was the crazy one. I felt like showing him one of my fingers as well but I had better things to do and a dog to protect. At home, I immediately phoned 911 and reported the deer’s situation. Rather than waiting for the police officer I decided to meet him at the deer’s location in Creek Run Developments. The doe was gone when I got back. Even with an injured leg a deer can still travel, and with all the free food in the orchards around us can survive quite well on three legs. I searched the immediate area myself but didn’t see it anywhere. The RCMP officer arrived quickly and we teamed up to beat the brush and inspect the hiding places a wounded animal would go to rest or die. We found nothing. I thanked the officer for his help and his quick response time as we returned to our vehicles and he left to serve other citizens of Lake Country.

I went back to the place where it all began and decided to attempt tracking the animal. I had to give up after about one hundred meters when the deer started walking on ground too hard to track on, but the direction it had moved indicated it had passed through the area we had just searched. I found no traces of blood. She was probably lying near the railroad tracks, invisible under brush or trees, waiting for nightfall to get up and feed again, if it could. Had I been thinking clearly at the time I should have asked one of the residents of the development to phone 911 while I watched the deer until help came. Hopefully it is not too badly injured to survive the coming cold. We will be looking for her on all of our morning walks now. I wish her well.

To the poor person who accosted us and did nothing to help the animal he thought had a broken leg, I invite him to reply to this publication with his version of these events. Failing that, I can be contacted through the Lake Country Calendar should he wish to meet to discuss my attitude towards him. I should caution you I will not have a small dog to take care of then, and you will not be safely at the wheel of your truck talking so bravely behind a rolled-up window. Bruno and I meet many good people as we walk our dogs in this area, and now they will all know what kind of person you really are. Thank you for making it so easy.

Doug Maves,

Lake Country

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