Mimi the Deer
Mimi had a knack for fitting in with everyone she met – from humans to the dogs who lived with Cheryl and Dennis Moretz at the Linville Ridge community.
The circumstances surrounding the story of Mimi the Deer are unique. Dennis Moretz says the only reason his brother initially rescued her is because he found the carcass of another baby deer nearby, possibly killed by coyotes. Mimi was starving and he knew she would likely suffer the same fate if he left her to fend for herself. Combined with his rescue was Dennis’s offer to nurse her to health and integrate her into the forests around his home at Linville Ridge. Dennis, through knowledge gained after growing up on a farm, knew how to care for her without domesticating her. However, he agrees with wildlife officials who advise people to leave abandoned wildlife alone.
The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries offers the following advice if you spot a wild animal that has been injured or truly abandoned:
• Call a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. State wildlife offices might be a good place to start to find the proper contact information in your area.
• Different species have different nutritional, housing and handling requirements. If you feed a fawn the wrong food (such as cow’s milk) it can become sick. • Do not chase fawns. If it can’t be captured easily, leave it alone. Virginia wildlife officials say a prolonged chase can cause undue stress on the animal and can lead to capture myopathy, which is a fatal condition due to severe muscle and kidney damage.
• Moving deer and releasing them into other deer populations can increase the risks of transmitting contagious diseases, such as tuberculosis or chronic wasting disease (CWD).
Best advice: don’t interfere with the natural order of wildlife.