Wild Deer Ask For Passage On Boat

(Photos courtesy of Sharon Kelly and JuneauEmpire.com)

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

I may be the last one to have seen this news story but was so touched by it that I had to put it up again anyway.

Four young Sitka deer got into trouble swimming through rough and frigid waters off the Alaska coast.  Exhausted and hypothermic they evidently spotted a charter boat sailing nearby and swam over to circle it, looking for some way to climb up out of the water.

The local family on board were amazed and sprang into action to pull the four up on the deck where they immediately collapsed.  By the time they reached land one deer was recovered enough to jump into the water and swim to shore by itself, two had to be coaxed but eventually made it to the woods, and one was still too weak to move.

So they loaded it into a wheelbarrow and rolled it up the dock to shore where they remained with it for a few hours until the deer could finally stand, wobbling but unassisted.

It’s an extraordinary story that once again breaks down some of the barriers we tend to build in our heads about what animal/human interactions and relationships can be like.  What particularly fascinated me was that the owner of the boat is a hunter but didn’t feel right about taking these deer.  I suspect he was responding to that deep instinct most of us have that we’re not allowed to harm something that has come to us for help.

The entire family was reportedly delighted and moved by the experience, considering it a gift.  In other words, they were grateful, thus earning their experience a respected place as a story worthy of Thanksgiving.

May this day be filled with the same for all of us…generosity, compassion, gratitude, and just a wee bit of magic.

copyright Dia Osborn 2012

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