Friday, June 13, 2014

Walking on the Wildside

We had a deer in our fenced, suburban backyard this morning. It was the strangest thing that has happened all week  month. I am not completely surprised that the deer found its way into our yard. Deer are good jumpers. I also saw a deer wandering the neighborhood last week. It was walking in the street (which I did think was odd. Deer should not walk on pavement). Anyway, at 6:15am I went to let Ninja (the greyhound) outside and she immediately took off toward the pine tree. Any other day, a rabbit springs out from under the tree, the dog chases the rabbit around the yard, snatches the rabbit in her mouth, snaps its neck, drops the rabbit, and proceeds to go potty before returning to the house for her breakfast of kibble. Honestly, this is what happens. I pick up and dispose of dead rabbits on the regular. I used to get upset and plead with Ninja to not chase and kill rabbits. First of all, dogs are a lot of great things, but reasonable listeners...not a strength. If it moves, Ninja will chase it. So I let her follow her natural urge to kill at the expense of the rabbit population, which seems to be doing well in spite of Ninja's frequent reduction efforts.

Now the deer, which is considerably larger that Ninja, was a different story. Yes, she chased it. However, the deer stopped. Ninja did not. She plowed into the side of the deer. This scared my sweet little rabbit murderess. So much that she returned to the house, not stopping to potty. Nope, she ran into the house, and curled up into a dog ball and did not move for 15 minutes. She who kills rabbits on the regular, was reduced to a quivering dog ball by a deer. So much for being the apex predator of the backyard. It seem now the local hoofed herbivores own the place.

Not being one to over react, I called 911 and clearly said, "I am not sure if this qualifies as a real emergency".

The dispatcher did not even ask me anything, she just said, "I am transferring you to the non-emergency line."

It would have been nice if she could have helped me sort it out, just a little. I had a traumatized dog in my house, and a deer in my fenced in backyard. That felt like an emergency to me. If not a full blown emergency, it is at least an extreme oddity for this suburban community. None the less, I was transferred to a desk police officer. I explained my extraordinary circumstances. He was unimpressed. Or should I say the tone in his voice said he was unimpressed. Honestly, I am not sure what is going on in this town that makes deer hanging out in backyards seem "normal". It is not. I live a well-populated, developed neighborhood. The extent of creatures, up until one week ago (the initial deer sighting) are as follows: birds, squirrels, chipmunks, skunks, rabbits, occasional ducks & Canadian geese, toads, snakes, and bugs. Some evidence of raccoons has been noted, but I have never actually seen the offending raccoon, it could just be some over zealous skunks. Deer, no. Not normal. Very out of the ordinary. However the local law enforcement, unimpressed.

Here is how the call went down:
(I was standing on my deck staring at the deer the entire call. Why? I am not completely sure.)

Officer: Police. How can I help?

Me: There is a deer in my fenced in backyard. It has terrified my dog. How can get it out?

Officer: Is the deer alive.

Me: Very much so.

Officer: Is the deer injured? Does it appear it has been struck by a car?

Me: Not at all. It seems quite healthy.

Officer: Well, then it will jump the fence and leave when it feels like it.

Me: My dog is terrified.

Officer: Ma'am, keep the dog in the house until the deer exits your yard.

Me: That is all???

Officer: Yes. Have a good day.

Me: Uhhh. Thanks? Good-bye.

Now I can not be sure what types of calls that the local fuzz generally receive, but clearly wildlife emergencies are not cause for great alarm. Perhaps he wakes up to herds of deer in his yard. I have never experienced such a thing in the metro area. Who knows, maybe my slightly panicked call this morning is now station house fodder. Maybe I am the crazy lady that called before 7am with a non-emergency emergency. I honestly do not care. I find the cavalier attitude towards large woodland creatures in fenced backyards disturbing. And the lack of caring toward my traumatized dog? Well that is just plain insensitive.

Here is to living in the Wild West(ern) Suburbs!

Note: The deer jumped into the neighbors yard after I started taking pictures. I was hoping it would neatly eat the grass over there to a respectable length, and perhaps trim up around the trees and fence line. That did not happen.