When we see someone in need, our instincts kick in to help them. And that can even include a wild animal.
In 2015, Darius Sasnauskas was taking a video of some deer that were walking through the backyard of his home near Yellowstone National Park. The yard was big enough that a mother deer was comfortable enough to bring her two newborn fawns for a walk around in it.
But while watching, Sasnauskas noticed something was wrong with one of the fawns.
One of the fawns had an injured leg, and was limping; she wasn’t able to keep up with her mother and brother. Later on, her family went on without her, leaving the injured fawn all by herself in Sasnauskas’s yard.
“With so many predators around, she had no chance to survive on her own,” Sasnauskas captioned his video. He’d previously filmed bears and a wolf nearby, so he knew the fawn would not get far should she have tried to leave on her own.
Sasnauskas knew he couldn’t leave the fawn there to die.
Sasnauskas took in the fawn, and planned to tend to her until her leg got better.
Though there was definitely room for her in the house, Sasnauskas’s dogs and cats didn’t look too thrilled to have her there.
Sasnauskas made a leg brace for her, out of an oatmeal box, to help with her leg injury.
Using his ingenuity, Sasnauskas made a makeshift leg brace out of cardboard to stabilize the leg and help it recuperate.
Sasnauskas then treated the fawn as if she were one of his own children. He fed her milk from a bottle every four hours, and let her roam his yard along with all of the other pets.
She eventually became healthy enough to not need the leg brace anymore!
A colleague’s dog, Mack, started treating the fawn like she was his puppy.
Mack the Bernese Mountain dog constantly licked the fawn, just like her original mother did, and would stand guard while she slept in the yard, and follow her around while she played.
Mack and Sasnauskas’s pets had finally warmed up to the fawn; it was like she was one of their own.
But Sasnauskas knew she couldn’t be kept. She had to be reunited with a family.
Sasnauskas said that around that time of year, does would be having babies, so hopefully, if the fawn was dropped off in the wild, she would picked up by a mother.
“Hopefully, one of the moms, or even her real mom, will come,” Sasnauskas says to the camera. He put her in a box and took her to an open field, where he waited with her, looking at other deer passing by hoping one of them would take her in.
They ended up going back to the field multiple times, every evening until one day the mother showed up and took her fawn back!
Wildlife officials say the chance of a mother taking a fawn back is very slim, but Sasnauskas is sure that’s what happened here. Because of the mountainous landscape, the mother deer had likely not wandered far.
“It’s a nine out of ten chance that the baby will die, because the mother won’t accept it. And there’s a nine out of ten chance that a mother won’t accept another baby,” Sasnausakas told PJ Media. “But she did.”
Sasnauskas even caught the family in the area a few months later, with both fawns looking alive and well.
Sasnauskas said that he did not usually take in wild animals, but this one was an exception. He couldn’t stand to see a helpless, injured deer lose her family and possibly be killed.
It did take a while, but Sasnauskas was able to bring her back to health and reunite her with her family.
The following year he saw the family again, and they were all looking fit and well. They still visit his property, but the fawn has become completely wild again, not remembering her time with Sasnauskas, the cats, and dogs.
“She kind of sometimes stops and stares at me but as soon as I start to come closer she runs away,” he said in a follow-up video.
Sasnauskas documented the whole rehabilitation of the fawn on video, and later posted it to his YouTube channel where it got over 12 million views!
“I really hope my video will inspire many to be more compassionate towards our animals, to preserve our nature, to value life,” he said.