July 1, 2012

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The initial goal was to return the little deer as soon as possible to the wild. But the deer, and the couple it adopted, did not seem to want that to occur. What ensued was a relationship that not only amazed and helped one North Carolina mountain couple, but had an impact on much of the community where they live.

Cheryl Moretz of Linville, N.C. was well aware of “the other woman.” She knew Mimi loved her husband, Dennis, in a rare, unconditional way. Not only did Cheryl approve of the “love affair,” she also welcomed Mimi into the family.

“Looking into Mimi’s eyes was like looking into the eyes of God,” says Cheryl.  “I think Mimi had a purpose and the ability to heal the human heart.”

Mimi, you see, wasn’t human – but a deer that came into the Moretzes’ lives when she was struggling to survive. When Dennis, who grew up on a farm near Boone, N.C., found out his brother, Ernest, had rescued a starving baby deer from his pastures, he jumped in to help. He had raised many different species of animals throughout his life and he knew he could help the young deer gain strength and return to the wild.

“My ultimate goal,” explains Dennis, “was to readapt her back to nature. “

The hearts of Dennis and Cheryl melted the first time they saw the baby deer. She still had her spots and weighed a mere six pounds. They transported her to their home in Linville Ridge where they bottle-fed her and nurtured her as if she were one of their own. She was even readily accepted into the fold by the couple’s two beagles: Beagie and Bagel.

Life Throws a Curve Ball

Shortly after Mimi arrived in Linville in May 2010, Dennis fell ill and received a devastating diagnosis from his doctors. A virus was attacking his heart and he needed to stop working – he’s the owner of Moretz Construction Company in Boone – and enter a treatment program.

Man and deer exchanged responsibilities while continuing their growing bond. Dennis had been nursing Mimi to health and now it was her turn to work her magic on him. She also comforted Cheryl, who spiraled into waves of depression after her husband’s diagnosis.

“After Dennis became so ill, she never left his side,” says Cheryl. “She would come up on the deck and lick the back of his neck or head. She would also come and lick my neck when I was crying.”

“There’s nothing more calming than a little deer licking your hand, “says Dennis.

As Dennis began his recovery, he would take long walks with Mimi close beside him. Their daily walking pattern didn’t go unnoticed. Other residents began looking for the duo and even scheduled time to bring their grandchildren to spots along their path to see Mimi up close. Mimi would greet the kids and even allow them to touch her.

Living Between Worlds

Dennis carefully trained Mimi in a way to allow her to survive on her own in the woods, and she was free to roam and play with other deer. Mimi, however, preferred to stay close to their home.


July 1, 2012

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Comments (4)

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Mimi the Deer

I too raised a fawn that I pulled out of a swamp. I bottle fed her and she stayed close for a year. She is now in the mountains with her own kind, but I miss her like crazy. She was so sweet and loving...a gift from God.I wish everybody could experience the kind of love these amazing creatures show.It has changed me forever.

Kimberly Hale 252 days ago

Mimi the Deer

I loved the story of Mimi and was sad that she died. The good thing was that you made some great pictures that will be in your family for years to come. Having her in your life like that is what I call a God Thing cause only He could have made that happen. Animals do bring a peace we do not understand.

Mike Wood more than 1 years ago

Baby Deer

That true story about the little deer Mimi and the people who saved her, was honestly one of the most moving stories ever. How fortunate for both sides.I wished all people believed animals were one of the biggest parts of healing, why is that? Only one answer can be certian. Because God created them.

Beka Hale more than 1 years ago

Mimi the Deer

I Loved the Story Also. Animals Do feel your Pain!! They Hurt when you Hurt I Believe that!!!!God Created them I Wish People Could Realize That!! My Neighbors dog for example. When I am Upset Crying she Comes to me. And she Lays her head in my lap /puts her face to mine. And Looks at me those Big Brown eyes like I know!!! I Call her My Guardian Angel Dog!!! She Wont Leave me till I have Cried it Out!!! I Love Her!! I Do Believe Healing Power of animals !! I Agree Looking into Bell's Eye Is Soothing to the Soul!!! She Knows when I am upset!! I Loved your deer Story!!! I Really Love animals!!! They are Truley Man's Best friend!!!

Lori's Outdoor Photography 132 days ago

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