On Monday before our Fourth of July festivities began, Scott and Emily decided to go on a nature walk. The twins were napping, and it was one of those rare times when I decided to take a nap too. I was exhausted!
Scott and Emily walked out the door just before I went to sleep. I woke up over an hour later and they weren't home. I waited another hour, and they still didn't show up. My mom called, and I was on the phone with her voicing my concern and asking how long until I contact Search and Rescue when Emily bardged in to the house.
"Mom! Quick! There's an emergency! Mom! You have to come quick!
Oh no. My first thoughts were that something had happened to Scott, which made me heart drop to my toes. I quickly realized that he was coming up the stairs right behind her. Once I saw that he was fine, I had no clue what this emergency may be.
Apparently, they walked over four miles. Scott said they talked about all sorts of things while exploring nature. They followed a turtle to see where he was going. They saw all sorts of birds. They looked at all sorts of trees and vines.
And then when they were making their way back to the house, they saw a deer that had\ obviously been struck by a car. The deer was laying in a ditch on the side of the road. It could hardly be seen until they walked right up to it. It was in a lot of pain, and panting hard. They had no idea how long it had been out there.
So this was the emergency. And to Emily, it was a huge emergency.
A few years ago, my class read a series of books about expansion (think urban sprawl) and we ended up deciding to collect materials for a wildlife group here in Columbia. I remembered this group, and how they cared for hurt animals, or animals who had been displaced by construction. I called only to find out that they were closed (it WAS Independence day!) and that they referred all injured deer calls to the Department of Natural Resources.
So I called the Dept. of Natural Resoources and put in notice about the injured deer. We were told that since it was hard to see from the road, that it would help if we could wait by the deer until an officer showed up. We loaded the mini-van, and were off.
When Emily and Scott showed me the deer, they noted that it had rolled over, exposing its very broken bone-exposed legs. The poor deer! Emily was so concerned.
It wasn't until the two sherriff deputy cruisers rolled up that Scott and I fully understood what the phone dispatcher that I talked to meant when she said "officer." All of the sudden Scott and I had the realization of what was to happen next. Our head snapped towards each other as our eyes told us we were both thinking the same thing. Deputies have guns. I don't exactly know what Scott was execting, but I guess I was expecting some sort of DNR "officer" to come with an animal truck, where the deer would be loaded up and taken away to be cared for. This is absolutely ridiculous, as we live in a state with an overpolulation of deer to the point where they frequently open deer season to include doe. Why would this one deer be one they would want to save? While the deputies parked, I quickly realized I hadn't thought this all the way through.
We walked away from the deer to talk with the officers. They were totally nice and understanding about not wanting to leave an animal in such severe pain, which made me feel better about the thoughts I was having about wasting their time on a probably very busy holiday weekend.
We walked back across the street to show them the deer, all the while waiting for an opportunity to ask the deputies if they could wait before bringing out their guns so we could promptly drive away so Emily wouldn't have to see.
But as we showed them the deer, we instantly noted that it must have just died. The heavy breathing was gone, and it wasn't moving. Its eyes distant, not jerking around like before.
Emily wasn't going to have to witness the Bambi being shot by the deputies. I have to admit that I have never been so excited for a deer to die.
On the way back home, Scott told Emily that she was a person of action, and that she decided to do something when she saw something was wrong. He explained that the deer had probably been passed up by dozens of people, not to mention the car who must have hit it. I looked in the rear-view mirror and saw her beaming in the back seat. I loved that they take their nature walks together. I loved seeing the pride on her face when Scott noticed her responsibility and action. I also loved that we didn't see a deer get shot.
Thanks deer. I'm pretty sure this is one of those instances that Em won't ever forget.