John Deer


Steve and Cheryl Eno are "deer" people who live in rural Nebraska.

Steve and Cheryl have worked hard all of their lives in order to situate themselves in a location where they would be able to enjoy nature from every window of their house. They have landscaped their property to be wildlife friendly-including a couple of ponds. They were taking in the scenery one day, when they noticed that the pair of Canada Geese that nest on their property were quite upset. Now it is not unusual for geese to be upset. I think that geese are upset when they are not upset.

Steve and Cheryl scanned the area and quickly saw what the problem was. The geese in the pond were swimming frantically to escape from a white-tailed deer. The spotted fawn was intent upon joining the geese. Steve and Cheryl called the DNR, several parks, veterinarians and even some horse owners to determine what to do. They were informed that the fawn was probably orphaned and was trying to make parents out of the geese. Steve and Cheryl watched the young deer carefully for the next few days. They noticed that it had lost most of its white tail. The bobbed tail was likely the work of a hungry coyote. The more they watched the little buck, the more apparent it became that it had no mother. What had happened to the mother was never known. A lot of deer fall prey to car collisions, so perhaps that was her fate.

Then one fateful day, the fawn spotted Steve and Cheryl. That did it. From that day on, Steve and Cheryl became the parents of a fawn-whether they wanted to be one or not. The fawn followed them around like a puppy. Steve and Cheryl named him John Deer. It seemed like a most appropriate name for a deer in a farm community. Steve and Cheryl obtained a milk bucket used to feed calves and filled it with milk used to nourish lambs. They began feeding the hungry deer. John Deer made little, odd sounds of contentment as he drank. Steve and Cheryl, with hearts as big as Nebraska, fell in love with John Deer. John Deer, in turn, realizing that he had stumbled upon the best parents he could ever hope for, fell in love with Steve and Cheryl. As John Deer got a little older, he developed a real taste for oatmeal-raisin cookies and muskmelon. He would come each night at the same time for food and a head massage.

Now most of us who have owned dogs have had outside dogs. These are dogs that are supposed to stay outside all of the time, never setting paw inside our homes. Then it happened-maybe it was an extremely cold night or perhaps those beautiful brown eyes of the canine? The dog was allowed into the porch. Like a well-prepared army, the dog advanced little by little until it had the run of the entire house. John Deer must have had some canine instincts. He made it into the house and with his endearing (endeering) ways, he soon had the run of the beautiful house. The house was filled with nature paintings and I am sure that they made John Deer feel right at home. The vegetable drawer in the refrigerator quickly became John Deer's drawer. John Deer even went upstairs to visit the bedrooms and bathroom there. He had no trouble whatsoever going up the stairs. Coming down the stairs was a real problem. He wouldn't do it. Deer just aren't built properly for going down stairs. Steve had to muscle John Deer down. He learned quickly how strong a stubborn ungulate can be.

One day the telephone rang. It was a neighbor who went jogging every morning. He was joined each day at daybreak by a jogging deer. It was John Deer.

Another morning, another phone call. This one was from a bus driver who told Steve and Cheryl about a deer that tried to board the bus with the children. It was John Deer. Steve and Cheryl once again consulted with experts. The experts recommended neutering. Steve and Cheryl paid for the operation. Because of this procedure, the little buck never grew antlers. It had small buttons where the antlers would normally be.

John Deer spent two years hanging around the yard of Steve and Cheryl. It made regular visits to their house during that time. Steve would put some harmless red paint on the side of John Deer during the hunting season. On each flank, John Deer sported "PET" written in big red letters.

John Deer has gone off to live a life of his own. Steve and Cheryl still see him occasionally. John Deer was lucky to have parents like Steve and Cheryl. I am lucky to have friends like Steve and Cheryl. I have never met more giving people. Steve and Cheryl have discovered that you can never lose what you give to others.


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