The deer had been hit by a car but didn’t appear to be seriously injured. However, she was in a kind of shock, just lying there unmoving on the side of the road. The rescuers had to act quickly. Deer are very fragile and when handled or otherwise stressed can suffer “capture myopathy,” a fatal condition that triggers a buildup of lactic acid, causing muscles to die.
Simon, one of the rescuers, picked the deer up and after a little struggle was able to carry her to the car and gently place her in the hatchback area, wrapping her in a blanket. At the animal hospital, a vet was able to quickly examine her, stitch up several gashes on her face, and administer a pain killer.
They immediately took the deer back to the site of the accident so she could be released into the nearby woods. The deer was seriously traumatized, so much so that she was pulling her head back, a telltale sign that a deer is about to give up on life. So Simon encouraged the deer to keep her head forward and stand up. But she went limp. However, Simon and his assistant didn’t give up. They kept at it, gently encouraging the deer to get back on her feet. As he said, “It was heartbreaking to watch her struggling to stay up. This is the most worrying time for us because we never really know if we’ve done the right thing or the wrong thing. I’m just convinced that after years and years of doing this that this is the right thing for this deer. But she’s right on the verge of making it or collapsing. I hate the fact that she’s fighting it but not managing to go.”
They took the deer deeper into the woods and gave her more time. Gradually, the deer started perking up. The smiles on the rescuers’ faces tell the whole story.
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