A Deer, a Deck, and a Dog

Summer is my favorite season. Lazy afternoons with friends, sunshine, chilled drinks and eating on the deck are high on my list, especially when the pots and retaining walls are in full bloom. Last June, Hosta, Delphinium and Geraniums framed the back courtyard.

Our home is a basic colonial. Walk inside our Elizabeth Arden red door into an entryway, complete with a winding staircase, divides the dining room from the living room. Continue through the entry to the back of our house and it’s completely open. It was one of the main reasons we bought the home; the combination kitchen and great room is the heart of everything and features windows from one end to the other overlooking the back yard and the beginning stages of our dream “courtyard”. (One of many projects in the works.)

One summer day I waved at my neighbor across the street gardening with the kids, mine and hers, as I was pulling into our steep driveway. They were coming for pizza on the back deck. I came through the mudroom, placed pizzas on our kitchen bar, and let Chelsea out the back doors. Plates, napkins, pop and a couple of Corona was forward in my mind as I quickly walked back to the bar. Suddenly, a piercing yelp, an ominous thud and loud whimpering stopped me mid-step. I remembered an email earlier in the week from our home-owners association warning us about a couple of coyote seen wandering.

But when I ran through the doors and on to the deck, I found myself nose to nose with a huge Doe. Our back yard slopes back into the deck so that when you are standing on the deck you are almost eye level with the person standing in the yard. The yelping continued but I couldn’t see Chelsea anywhere. I slowly moved towards the edge of the deck to take a peak over the side. Chelsea lay flat-out on her belly, all four legs straight, spread eagle, her body shoved half-way under the deck with broken trellis bits around her. She caught sight of me and began shaking uncontrollably, the whimpering escalated. I felt like I was going to throw-up.

“If anything happens to this dog, my husband is going to kill me!” I thought.

The Doe and I locked eyes. She lowered her head slightly and started to get into a crouching position, tail raised high, and started to stomp a front hoof. Just then a baby deer darted out from behind her. It became very clear what had happened. Chelsea must have come off the deck and because she is partially blind, didn’t see the Doe and her baby standing there. Like any protective mother would, the momma deer must have head-butted Chelsea into the deck so that her baby could safely get away. What she didn’t count on was this momma coming out to retaliate!

“I’ll just make a bunch of noise and she’ll run away”, I thought. I started screaming and waving my arms, jumped up and down on the deck.

“Get out of here you crazy deer!” I just kept screaming. Out of the corner of my eye I could see my neighbor and the kids come around the side of the house. They could hear all the commotion from across the street.

The Doe started to crouch lower and snorted at me. She wasn’t going anywhere.

“MOM! You gotta save Chelsea”, cried The Tortoise.

There was nothing left to do, Chelsea was still panting heavily on the ground and this over-protective Doe was calling my bluff. So I did what any under 5ft woman would do, I got off the deck and walked right past that stubborn deer and picked up my 70 pound Golden Retriever. It was a struggle, but I got her back in the house. I felt every bone, checked every inch of her and couldn’t find a single thing wrong. She was just scared and shaken up a bit, gave my face a fresh bath with her warm wet tongue. My neighbor and the kids came running into the house through the mudroom, cheering and crying in relief.

“You’re the hero, you’re the hero!” they exclaimed.

Unfortunately I didn’t have the last word though. Because two more grown deer came out of the woods, accompanied by more babies and just hovered around our deck. They seemed to be staring us down, taunting us, “I dare ya’ to come out now.” They claimed their spots for nearly a half hour.

We ate inside.

Ever since that afternoon, whenever Chelsea comes outside, she stands in the center of the deck and barks her head off.

“I’m coming now” she bellows, “You better get out of my yard!”

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