Dillie, the Ohio House Deer, Defies Odds

Don’t try this at home: an Ohio family is living with a deer.  This is not the typical story we hear nearly every day: an animal person takes in an animal they are unprepared to manage and tragedy ensues for one or both. The characters and species change; the results are monotonous. This month we saw the Canadian guy killed by his pet tigers and the death of Michael Jackson’s former giraffes. Miraculously, this isn’t one of those stories.

Dillie the deer was rescued by someone who knew what she was doing. Dr. Melanie Butera (Dillie’s human mom) is a vet who does a lot of  wildlife work. Dillie’s deer mom rejected her because she was sickly and had cataracts. That means she wasn’t brought in for the usual wrong reason: somebody finds a fawn alone in the woods and doesn’t realize its mom is just out eating.

 Dillie was born on a Canton area deer farm. (Ohio has tons of farmed deer, whose purpose ranges from being pet, bred, eaten or the target of a canned hunt.) The farmer saw Dillie’s deer mom, busy with two robust other triplets, push Dillie aside. Ohio has elaborate rules banning the miscegenation of wild and farm deer, so she couldn’t go free–even if she were capable. As she’s hand-raised and nearly blind, she’s not. She’s afraid of local deer and thwarted plans to raise her in the barn by being terrified of a horse’s snort.

Then Dr. Butera went to extraordinary

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