lastwordy: (disbelief)
So, on Fridays I volunteer at the local wildlife rehabilitation center, the Mercer County Wildlife Center. They are amazing; donate if you can. I love doing it and wish I could be there every day. Valuable lessons are learned about wildlife and how to care for them. This is the story of my latest lesson: Fawns Are Adorable Assholes.

Currently, we have three baby fawns: Pink, Purple, and Green (that's how they tell them apart -- they mark the insides of their ears with non-toxic wax). Last Friday, we had to bring them from their outside pens to their indoor, overnight crate. In order to do this, you have to carry them inside. Of course, EVERYONE wants to pick them up, because they are precious. Diane, who is in charge of the center, is just watching and says, "Yes. they're so cute, You'll learn."

I picked up Purple -- the proper way to do this is to hold them by the chest/stomach and let their legs hang free. For the record, the fawns do not like this. At all.

Lesson 1: Fawn hooves are sharp. I am now down one Ramones tshirt.


We get them inside and I am given the task of feeding them their evening meal. This require mixing fawn formula (smells like vanilla ice cream, doesn't taste like it -- you will find out how I know that in a moment), then putting it into heavy-weight dog bowls because (Lesson 2) fawns are clumsy and will kick over anything lighter. I mix everything, heat the formula to the required temperature, and put the dishes in the pen.

First comes Pink. She is the smallest of the three, and she proceeds to curl herself up and lay down IN the formula bowl. Now I have to get her out of there. I open the pen door (when the door is open, the space is about 2.5-3" square) and reach for her. She is crabby and slippery and not remotely interested in being moved -- apparently, bowls of warm formula are very comfortable. While I am trying to get a good grip on her, Purple spies FREEDOM over my shoulder, and attempts to jump for it. His plan was not well thought out, however, and what actually happens is that he gets his head stuck between my shoulder and the top of the pen. So, NEW PLAN, he begins to vigorously kick his legs in order to gain momentum. This does not result in freedom. It DOES result in him nailing the formula bowl with one hoof, flipping said bowl up and over, and SOAKING me 300 ccs of warm deer formula

Lesson 3: Things that smell like vanilla ice cream do not always taste like vanilla ice cream.

Consider the scene: both hands occupied by struggling, slippery tiny fawn. Shoulder trying desperately to push non-slippery but very determined normal size fawn back into the pen. "But Dawn," you ask. "Wasn't there a THIRD fawn?" Why yes! There was!! And he smells dinner.

So here comes Mr. Green. A wet fawn nose is shoved at my face, all a-quiver. Then he licks my forehead and my cheek -- yes, clearly dinner. But where is the rest of it? AHA! It must be on that thing on the side of the human's head, the thing that is a little dangly and vaguely nipple-shaped. THAT MUST BE WHERE THE FOOD COMES FROM. And he proceeds to attach himself to my earlobe in order to get more dinner.

Lesson 4: Baby fawns have excellent control over their teeth. THANK GOD.

By this point, I am laughing hysterically, basically unable to move, and desperately hoping someone would hear it so they'd come and rescue me. Alas, no one did. I finally manage to put Pink down without dropping her, shoulder Purple back into the pen, grab the food bowls, and mix new dinner for them -- only two bowls this time, since Pink was not interested in using the formula for anything other than a bed. I get up, clean up the mess all over the floor, and walk to Diane's office. She looks up and raises one eyebrow. I say happily, "Hi Diane! Fawns are ASSHOLES!" And a good laugh was had by all.

Totally worth it :) I really love volunteering there and I wish I could do it full time.

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June 2013

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