They stood still like they were frozen. Trying to see if any of them knew what to do, he looked around at his friends’ faces. Encounters with wildlife are not unusual in the heavily wooded area that they had been driving through, but he had never been in a situation like this. Something just wasn’t adding up. He could see the terror in his friend’s eyes. They all knew that they had to act, and they had to do it fast. But, would they risk it all?
When Steve Knoop set out that day, neither he nor his friends had any idea of what they were about to face. Despite having lived in a rural community for a long time, Steve Knoop had never thought that he’d find himself in such a situation. They were driving together on the road that on bordered the woods, they rarely encountered any traffic. They were chatting and having a good time, when all of a sudden, he slammed on the brakes.
Steve’s friends were bewildered by the halt, and started to scold him for such a brash action. But then they saw it in the middle of the road: a small, brown lump. They didn’t see any other evidence of an accident, but their first thought was that it was an animal that had been hit by a car. Deciding to investigate, they got out. There were no other cars around, and things only got stranger from there.
They realized what the animal was as they slowly got closer. Steve became full of sadness at the thought of such a helpless creature getting hit by a car. It was a baby deer… But something wasn’t right. The fawn’s legs were collapsed in a strange position around its body, and its eyes were open. There were no visible signs of injury, and it appeared to be trying to make itself look smaller. One of the guys voiced a theory.
Clearly something weird was going on. One of Steve’s friends, seeing the fawn crouching, posited that it was trying to hide or perhaps camouflage itself. Another guy said that it had probably been born just minutes before, which judging by the creature’s size was a real possibility. But, the burning question was, why was it lying down, refusing to move even a tiny bit? Did it see something that they did not?
One of the guys said that he thought that they should leave the fawn alone. But the other men were worried that another driver might not see it and run it over. Steve had an idea. “It should get up soon,” he said, “I’ll just go up there and park my truck sideways and wait until it gets up.” They wondered how long they’d have to guard the fawn against the dangers of the road as they discussed Steve’s suggestion. Then, suddenly, they heard a rustling sound behind them
Then, they saw it. That explained everything. What the fawn knew but the men didn’t know was that they were being watched the whole time. Maybe the fawn had a good reason to stay still. Did it?
Despite what they saw, they knew they had to help this fawn no matter what. Steve’s friend, Paul, said: “We really should get it out of the road,” and Steve agreed. The other guys all accepted Paul’s decision when he started slowly walking toward the baby deer, even though they were unsure. They didn’t have any better ideas. Meanwhile, Steve captured all of it on camera. Paul said: “It’s not gonna hurt me…I’m not worried about that.” His main worry was that he would scare the fawn.
To test the baby’s reaction to his presence, Paul moved his hands carefully, closer and closer, as he bent down behind the fawn. Paul slowly placed his hands under its hind legs and gently scooped it up. It didn’t seem too spooked. Quickly standing up, he walked across the road and towards the woods. But just then, the fawn started to move.
The fawn started to wiggle its legs just as he had stepped out of the road and onto the grassy shoulder. It was trying to get out of Paul’s hands. “Don’t drop it!” said one of the guys, but luckily Paul had a grip strong enough to be able to lower the fawn closer to the ground, and then he let it go. Just like that, the baby deer had leaped away into the woods, where his mother was waiting. The guys looked on in awe.
What was hiding in the woods was the baby deer’s mom. The men realized that it must be the fawn’s mother, as they turned toward the woods and saw that, peering at them from behind the foliage, there was an adult deer. Steve felt relieved by the knowledge that at least the baby deer had a chance for survival and hadn’t been abandoned. They had to figure out a way to get it out of the road. And then, finally, a decision was made by one of the guys.
“Yeah!” Paul exclaimed as soon as he saw the fawn making its way to its mother. He turned, looking at his friends with his arms up in the air, an ecstatic look on his face. “That was awesome!” said one of the guys. The others also expressed their delight at the mission accomplished. Steve decided to post about the remarkable moment online. The reactions were varied.
Some people were critical of Steve and Paul’s actions, saying the fawn probably would have made its way back to its mother who was nearby if the guys had just backed away. Most people praised Paul for helping save the baby deer, though. Steve’s video of the incident has been viewed over five million times… but are the negative reactions to the video warranted?
As a person, it’s normal to worry that a baby by itself might be in trouble, but most of the time it’s best to leave them alone, according to the Virginia Beach Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Female deer do tend to leave their fawns on their own while it’s light out, but they always come back. Handling “abandoned” fawns could also have dire consequences.
If you absolutely must handle baby deer, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife recommends that you “rub an old towel in the grass and wipe the fawn to remove human scent.” Wildlife experts generally advise against touching baby deer because the lingering human scent could cause their mothers to reject them. Paul had no time to clean the fawn before it ran off — but that doesn’t necessarily mean that what he did was wrong.
“If the fawn is found in a dangerous place… [it] may be picked up and immediately moved several feet away from the danger,” The Virginia Beach Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals advises on their website. They definitely approved of what Paul did that day, and we couldn’t agree more! But it’s not only humans who can show an amazing amount of compassion toward other beings…
Mark held his breath. Storm had never jumped into the sea like that. In fact, he usually acted like a cat around water. He paddled away from the shore and disappeared underwater. Was he alright? Could he breathe? The waves were getting bigger. Mark’s heart stopped. But when Storm finally surfaced, he finally realized what was going on.
Mark Freeley had goals. He wasn’t interested in getting drunk and having fun. He had a plan. Three years of hard work, and he would obtain his law degree. He watched “12 Angry Men” as a child and was immediately infatuated with the law. He worked three jobs between his classes. But he couldn’t run on passion forever.
Mark was lonely. He thought working as a busboy in the evenings, a waiter between classes, and a barista in the mornings would make his day fly. But instead, the hours dragged. He didn’t have time to socialize with anyone in Hofstra University School of Law, let alone have a relationship! He functioned on four hours sleep a night. Eventually, the pressure started to take a toll on him emotionally and physically.
Mark became top of his class but he was exhausted. His classmates were nice, but most of them were distant. What was his secret? How did he have so much self-control? He would wake up and go to sleep among passed out students and drink-spilled floors. They thought he was missing out on the college experience. But Mark had bigger plans than partying.
Mark graduated top of his class from Law School. He was quickly picked up at a firm in New York, so he packed his bags and moved to the big apple. Finally, he was being rewarded for his hard work after years of sleepless nights and early mornings. But Mark was about to learn some hard lessons.
Mark’s one bedroom apartment was a 200 sq. ft. studio. His bed was a mattress on the ground that looked over his cramped kitchen/living room. He was working 5 days a week doing the slack work all the real lawyers hated. He was always the butt of the jokes. He was beginning to question if he had made the right decision. New York was nothing he had ever expected. But things couldn’t stay terrible forever.
Thankfully, Mark started to socialize. He made a friend in his apartment complex who would invite him in for a beer when they passed each other on the stairs every now and again. On weekends, they would order Chinese and watch the football game. His apartment was 5 times the size of Marks. But there was one aspect that Mark envied above all others.
His neighbour had the constant company of a canine. Mark always dreamed of having his own dog. He promised himself that when he finally made it to a comfortable position, he would adopt a pooch to share the good life with. However, after all the years spent working, studying, and trying to keep himself from having a mental breakdown, he wasn’t sure if he could even take care of himself. Rent was so high, he was living on pasta and noodles. Then, the unimaginable happened.
Mark began to get noticed at work. He was assigned a few easy cases but managed to make to make them big wins. Finally, things were turning around. He suddenly didn’t feel so small in the big city. He was regularly invited to after-work drinks to gossip about the higher-ups. He began to land promotion after promotion. He finally felt like he was fitting in, but he couldn’t help but feel like something was missing.
After his first year, Mark finally saved up enough to move into a loft downtown. Finally, he didn’t have to eat where he slept or sleep where he ate. What was he going to do with all this room? As he waited on the steps for the delivery van, a short man passed with a basket of pups. “20 bucks. Sir?” Mark looked down at the fur balls. Maybe it was a sign? But was he ready to be responsible for another life? For the first time in forever, Mark decided to take a chance.
Storm was a beautiful golden retriever. Mark soon forgot what the word ‘lonely’ meant. Storm may have left his sofa covered in long blonde hairs, but he was infatuated. He no longer had to come home to an empty house. And as time went on, his career excelled. He was passionate and re-energized. After a year, they welcomed Sarah to their family. She was a lab-mix and immediately fit in. Finally, everything had fallen into place. But there were some things Mark couldn’t control.
Storm and Sarah kept Mark physically and mentally fit. When he didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning, they dragged him to the door for walks. An hour twice a day was enough to tire Mark Freeley, but not Storm. Everything seemed the same that morning. Mark drank his coffee and then grabbed the leash. A stroll along Long Island beach was going to do them the world of good. But he never thought he would witness this.
Storm ran into the water and swam like a fish in Pirate’s Cove. Mark had only ever seen him move that fast for food! What was going on? He disappeared beneath the surface and reappeared by a brown mound. Was it dirt? Seaweed? But as Storm made his way back to the shore, Mark couldn’t believe what was in his mouth.
When Storm finally reached land, Mark grabbed his phone. Storm hadn’t returned with a random treasure, but a fawn. Somehow, it had fallen into the water before being dragged out by the tide. Storm opened his jaw and let the young animal fall to the ground. But it wasn’t moving. What had Storm done?
Understandably, the fawn was exhausted from trying to stay afloat in the sea. Mark was astonished. How had it managed to tread the water? How long was it stuck out there? But most importantly, how did Storm even notice an animal that was meters away in the middle of the sea?
The young faun had little chance of escape. Had it not been for Storm, the young creature would have surely perished. Storm picked it up by the back of the neck as it if was his own puppy. But the fawn still wasn’t moving. Its mother was nowhere to be seen and Mark wasn’t sure what to do. Just as he got animal rescue on the phone, something amazing happened.
Storm tugged on the fawn’s ears. After a moment, it began to wake up. He lay down next to it, hoping it was ready to get up. But when it eventually stood, it walked two steps and collapsed again. Storm jumped to its side and began to rub his belly with his nose. Then, he started pulling the fawn’s leg. Mark thought the story was going to have a sad ending. But fate had another idea.
The young fawn eventually stood and began to walk. Mark was mesmerized. Had Storm really encouraged the young animal to stand up again? He couldn’t believe what he had witnessed. He shared the video online which gained over 2 million views. “He only knows love and care and attention, and I swear, that’s part of his personality,” Mark later shared. But this wasn’t the first instance of Storm showing just how special he was.
Mark shared that they had been fostering two puppies that same week. Storm was six at the time, but the puppies treated him like one of their own by pulling his ears and biting his tail. “They were tormenting him,” Mark explained. But Storm wasn’t one bit bothered. He sat peacefully as the young pups used him as a chewing toy. “This dog has never given me a day of grief.” What was Mark’s secret?
Storm is now 7 years old and continues to be the ideal pet. And Mark had some advice to give to new pet-owners. “When you’re training from your dog, it’s all about positive reinforcement and love,” he explained. “I’ve never had to raise my voice.” It seems as though the loving, secure environment Mark provided really helped Storm blossom into a calm, caring dog. But would his reputation remain untarnished forever? Unfortunately, not everyone has the best interests of animals at heart. One woman found her own reputation on the line when she posed for a seemingly innocent photograph. But would justice prevail?
She couldn’t believe this was happening. She had just posted a selfie on Facebook, but never expected repercussions like this. The post exploded with comments and insults from people she’d never even met. They were onto her and there was nothing she could do about it now. They were coming for her, and even the locals were outraged by what she’d done.
While Amelia was too much of an animal lover to ever consider farming livestock, she had long fantasized about moving to a rural area. The chance came to buy a house with a significant allotment and she seized it immediately. She loved the novelty of living side by side with untamed wildlife. But one day, she took her love for animals too far. She described the “events” in detail.
After a long night of howling wind and deafening thunder, Amelia allegedly woke to a clear day and went about assessing the damage. A few tiles had fallen and the fence was toppled in places. Extra work, but nothing serious. Then, she noticed a tree, a young alder, cracked in two. As she approached, she heard high-pitched, desperate chirping.
Scraping through the debris of the fallen tree, Amelia heard the sounds grow louder as she neared the source. Suddenly, a little yellow beak popped through the leaves, wide open. Blackbirds! Her instincts kicked, and she carefully cleared the branches from the surrounding area, uncovering another three adolescent birds in the process, one of whom had not survived the fall.
Placing the chicks in the fold of her coat, she carefully carried them toward her house. She would have to inspect them to see if they had sustained any injuries, but at first glance, it seemed they would just need warmth and nutrition. Pleased with having made her find, she was in good spirits – until she saw something that stopped her in her tracks.
Approaching the house from behind, she noticed the back door was wide open. A wave of unease washed over her. She hadn’t noticed it when she left earlier – had someone broken in? Surely the wind couldn’t have been so strong as to blow it open? Frozen in place, the blackbirds’ twittering drew her focus back to the task at hand. The door would have to wait.
Rushing through the front entrance, she quickly found a warm blanket for the chicks, placing them in a shoebox to keep them safe. She tried to calm herself, repeating to herself that it was just the wind. Her heart was pounding as she turned to go back and check. Hinges squeaked as the door swung to and fro. It was time to confront whatever hid within.
Amelia then recounted that she squinted in the dim light, and walked slowly into the barn. She searched that all was in its right place, scanning the bales of hay and tools. Then, she made out something, crouching in the far corner, low to the ground… and then she saw that there were more. And this is where her story becomes unbelievable.
The lights were off and the room smelled damp, the rain having been blown in through the night. Amelia took small, quiet steps, tenuously reaching for the light switch. In a flash, her fears evaporated, and she burst into joyful laughter. But when she described the scene before her, netizens and animal activists were incredulous.
Amelia said that there, huddled together in the corner and obviously seeking shelter from the storm, lay four little fawns, looking a little puzzled at the intrusion. But the people who read her Facebook post immediately knew that there was a lot more to this story, and she was about to pay the ultimate price for her “discovery”.
This wasn’t the first time Amelia had happened to stumble upon fawns near her home. One fateful day, she was walking through the woods when she came across something startling. There, on the ground, was a small brown animal. It was trying to make itself look very small. Amelia’s interest only increased as she drew closer. Then she realized what it was. What she didn’t realize was that this day marked the start of her criminal behavior.
The fawn was tiny, and she had an irresistible urge. She looked around to see if there would be any witnesses. Then she thought long and hard about what she was about to do. But this was an opportunity she felt couldn’t be missed — An opportunity for the best selfie ever! She wouldn’t be doing the fawn harm, would she?
Resolute, she scooped the fawn up and carried it to her home. Then, she posed with the tiny creature for a selfie, and was delighted when the picture quickly went viral. But Amelia wasn’t done. She needed more. So she went out into the woods again in search of more fawns to make her reluctant models.
Now, she had managed to gather a total of four fawns. But when questions about the authenticity of her barnyard “find” were raised on Facebook, she had to think fast. She didn’t realize that the viewers, especially the locals, were clued up on normal fawn behavior — and willingly entering a barn on a property inhabited by humans certainly wasn’t one of them!
Then Amelia’s post started to create a public outcry, so she wove a tale to try to protect herself. But people saw through her ruse instantly. She had tried to paint a picture of herself as an avid rescuer of animals, when in fact what she was doing was putting the animals in her care in danger. It had been a long time coming: the comments on her post reached a critical point and something had to give.
The commenters on her Facebook page made animal lovers’ anger apparent: “It’s a lie. She stole the babies and was trying to keep them as pets for her and her friends!” said one woman, and another commented: “OMG she has leashes around their necks. That woman is awful and a liar. This is a hoax for sure”. — Then the post got the attention of the police.
Suddenly, there were policemen at Amelia’s door. Word had gotten out to Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) that she had been stealing fawns from the forest for her own entertainment and to keep as pets – a criminal offense. She was promptly charged with four counts of taking a protected animal from the wild, and each incident carried a penalty of $1000.
The officers from the DNR seized the four deer from Amelia and have started the slow process to rehabilitate them so they can be released into the wild. Amelia was ill-equipped to care for them as she knew nothing of the proper care or food they needed to survive. She stole them from the forest for her own selfish reasons and even claimed later that she intended to give them to friends as pets.
Ron Kimmerley, an officer with the DNR, explained that “99.9 percent of the time when the people come in contact with these little fawns, everything is perfectly fine, just leave them alone, the mom will come back after dark,” he told the news station.”When they touch the fawn and bring the fawn in, it’s pretty much a death sentence for the deer.”
Sadly, the rate of incidences of fawns being taken from the wild is not uncommon. Some people mistakenly think that they are helping the animals, when in fact the mother is probably nearby foraging for food. Once a human touches a fawn, the mother will recognize the scent and will usually reject it. Some people, like Amelia, have less noble intentions and just want the animals as pets. But the backlash on social media continues to plague Amelia.