PHOTOS: Local Couple Rescues, Nurses Fawn Back to Health
It's one of nature's truly amazing stories.
When local realtor Peggy Patnaude sent her husband Joe Osbaldeston on a simple errand, she was unprepared for what he'd return with -- a real life Bambi.
Osbaldeston went across town near Forest Street to fetch a sign for Patnaude out of her client's garage. The clients had gone away for the weekend, and she needed that sign.
When he got inside, Osbaldeston noticed what he thought was a very realistic little deer statue. After a while, he figured it was too realistic. He touched it and realized it was a living fawn.
"The owners were mowing the lawn on Friday and the garage was open," Patnaude said. "The fawn must have wandered in, and they went away for weekend."
Osbaldeston called Patnaude and told her he would bring the fawn -- probably about a week old -- back to their home. The animal was weak and near death.
The fawn wouldn't move or eat anything and would just occasionally make noises, with some deer nearby responding to her cries.
Patnaude and Osbaldeston brought her inside and acted as veterinarians, feeding the fawn with an eye-dropper on Patnaude's lap. They switched over to whole milk in a baby bottle, and the fawn slowly regained her strength.
"Oh, she was the sweetest thing," Patnaude said. "She was cuddling up with me and she started purring, which I was floored by because I didn't know that deer purr."
Later that night, the fawn perked up and tried to walk.
"She jumped onto the floor, falling all over the place," Patnaude said. "A couple minutes later she got up and was stronger."
The next morning, the fawn was much stronger so Patnaude and Osbaldeston brought her back to her client's house. Her client was now home, and they didn't dare let the deer loose near Patnaude's house because she would never survive on her own.
The story has a happy ending. As hoped, the mother deer was still in the area of the garage.
"The mother deer came out, probably looking for her baby, and they walked off together into the woods."
Patnaude considers it fate that they rescued the fawn.
"She would have died if my husband hadn't been so observant," Patnaude said. "It was just meant to be I guess."