We’re in This Together: A Deer Memory

It was in 1995 that I had a memory making nature experience.  At the time, I was wracked with rheumatoid arthritis pain especially in my hands and feet.  My husband suggested we go to the deer research pens in State College, Pa.  The Penn State Deer Research Facility was studying among other things, nutrition, reproduction and behavior.  Not only did we want to see the deer, it was a good distraction from my condition.

Off we went to Big Hollow Road.  It was nice there, walking along the path outside of the fenced deer pens. There must have been thirty-five or maybe more deer, does and bucks, in the woodlot pens.  A few deer were browsing, but most were bedded down chewing their cuds.  It was peaceful walking along the fence looking in at the deer.  It was quiet too, walking on the old woodchip path.  The woodchip path ended and a cinder path continued around.

My husband had walked on quite a distance ahead.  I was walking down a slight grade on the cinder path when I slipped and ended up prone with my face pushed into the cinders. It seemed like everything was hurting.  Needless to say, I was whaling, sobbing, struggling to right myself but unable to get up because of the pains in my hands and Deerfeet.  For some reason, my eyes caught movement.  Quietly and slowly all of the does got up in unison.  The bucks stayed down. The does with their necks outstretched, heads down, and eyes looking at me walked towards me, right up to the fence.  There they were, all lined up along the fence. Noses down and pushed forward there was empathy.  They wanted to help me.  Oh my, what a moment.  I continued struggling and finally got myself standing using my elbows and knees.  Still sobbing, I started to walk.  The does walked too, with me, along the inside of the fence.  They continued to walk with me.  As I got myself together more, they began to stop following me.  Some continued, one in particular stayed with me for some distance.  Eventually she stopped.  I turned to look at her.  Our eyes met.  Overwhelming emotion caught me – caring, unity, a sense of oneness, a sense that we are in this together, cherish.

Years have gone by but those does, that deer, wasn’t just a something, some animal, out there in the woods.  It was an animal that wanted to help a human being, an animal that came caring, an animal that transcended the human. An animal, without knowing, showing me the oneness of us all.

Photos: pazzani & usfwsmtnprairie


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  • Karie


    • 6:34 pm - March 6, 2014

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  • Erica

    What an amazing story! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • 6:37 pm - March 6, 2014

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  • Amanda

    What a wonderful story, Mary! I bet it was a remarkable experience to have seen an animal truly feel compassion for you. It is not every day that people get to experience. Glad you were alright!

    • 7:27 pm - March 6, 2014

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  • Kristen

    What a lovely story! Its amazing to think that animals, who owe nothing to us, are still capable of such compassion. Must be that motherly instinct! 🙂

    • 10:06 pm - March 6, 2014

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  • Curtis

    As someone that grew up with a dozen deer outside their backdoor every morning for 18+ years, I completely agree. It’s amazing how we as a society are so quick to eliminate animal populations, but are we really that different? It’s the little things that really make you think. Thanks for sharing Mary.

    • 12:02 am - March 7, 2014

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  • Edna Miller

    What a beautiful story,,,,,yes, we are all in this together.
    This story should be a reminder of how good God is, as He took animals to help a human being……So special , God wraps his arms around us and finds ways, even through animals, to help us through our toughest moments.

    • 7:49 am - March 7, 2014

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  • brian

    What a magical experience, thanks for sharing!

    • 8:07 am - March 7, 2014

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  • Krista

    This was such a touching story! 🙂

    • 8:10 am - March 7, 2014

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  • Cheyenne

    Very touching, thank you so much for sharing your experience with us!

    • 8:20 am - March 7, 2014

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  • Mary

    Aww! What a great story! That is so sweet!

    • 8:25 am - March 7, 2014

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  • Chris

    Oh my goodness, I seriously almost cried! This is such a cute story – love the pictures too!

    • 8:29 am - March 7, 2014

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  • Shane

    Wow, what an amazing story Mary!

    • 8:32 am - March 7, 2014

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  • Kristin

    This is why I love animals so much!! They say so much without being able to speak. Touching story, Mary. Thanks for sharing.

    • 8:42 am - March 7, 2014

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  • Katie

    I love animals 🙂 Great story!

    • 10:01 am - March 7, 2014

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  • Gina

    That is so precious! Thanks so much for sharing that story, Mary,

    • 10:17 am - March 7, 2014

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  • Emily

    I’ve always loved animals, but it’s stories like these that make me so happy! I like to think that every animal has some form of thoughts, feelings or instincts that make them not so different from us. I would have loved to witness what you saw. So heart-warming! Thank you for sharing. 🙂

    • 10:49 am - March 7, 2014

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  • Katie

    This is a timeless and amazing story about the bond between animals & humans. Thanks for posting!

    • 10:56 am - March 7, 2014

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  • Judy Anders

    What a heartwarming story, and to witness the compassion from one of God’s creatures to a human in distress is just so touching. God bless you and the deer.

    • 11:28 am - March 7, 2014

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  • Deaven

    What a beautiful story! I firmly believe that animals have emotions just like we do, and this is a wonderful example. Thank you so much for sharing!

    • 2:30 pm - March 7, 2014

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