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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Deer friends: Dog adopts orphaned fawn – and their unlikely relationship is blossoming

By Jamie Mcginnes

..An unusual friendship between a Great Dane and orphaned deer has inspired a children's book.

Kate & Pippin: An Unlikely Love Story tells the story of how Isobel Springett, a photographer from Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada, found an abandoned baby deer in 2008 and took it in.

After bottle feeding powdered goat's milk to the fawn, which she called Pippin, she watched in amazement as her pet dog Kate began mothering it.

Loved-up: Isobel Springett (pictured) adopted an orphaned black-tailed deer, which she called Pippin.
It is shown here with its Great Dane pal Kate

The duo became inseparable - allowing Ms Springett to take a series of amazing pictures of them strolling around the garden and rolling around in the grass at her home.

They are now so famous they their own website and Facebook page.

Recalling her discovery of Pippin, Ms Springett said: 'We saw the tiny fawn wandering near our house, looking for its mother and crying - it was hard to ignore.

'We brought it into the house and our dog Kate was on her bed, so we put the fawn beside her for warmth.

Love at first sight: After bottle feeding powdered goat's milk to the fawn, Isobel Springett watched in amazement as her pet dog Kate began mothering it

'Over the next few days the two bonded.'

After a week or so in the house, Pippin decided she would prefer to sleep outside - and her canine friend missed her, said Ms Springett.

'Often, Kate would go off searching for her, coming back triumphantly with Pip in tow.

'They spent hours playing in our front garden.

'Even when Pip became a mature doe, she and Kate still played together. They remain the best of friends.'

Ms Springett's decision to adopt the black-tailed deer has been criticised by some, however.

Ruff and tumble: Pippin the deer and Kate the dog have been known to spend hours playing together in the garden

Wildlife biologist Jeff Morgan, who has studied deer living on Vancouver Island, said it was illegal to take in wild animals.

He told the Macleans.Ca site: 'In the case of deer, very often the mothers will leave the fawns and go off to forage and they will leave for prolonged periods of time.

'People see this and mistake it for a case of abandonment.

'With good intentions, they will take that fawn, but, unwittingly, they’re removing that fawn from its natural environment and its mother.'

Ms Springett said the fawn had been on its own for three days and was near starving when she intervened.

And in the opening lines of the children's book, Ms Springett's brother Martin, wrote: 'The fawn lay still and quiet.

'She was alone and afraid as she waited for her mother to come back.”

But Sylvia Campbell at the North Island Wildlife Recovery Association told Macleans.Ca: 'Unfortunately, this woman is an uninformed person. I’m really against this book. I don’t believe this is a healthy story to get out to people.'

Dog day afternoon: Even though Pippin is now a mature doe, she and Kate the dog remain the best of friends

Inseparable: Pippin the deer and Kate the Great Dane go for a walk in the woods

Touchy-feely: Pippin the deer and Kate the dog are very comfortable being around each other

Furry friends: The pair bonded but critics say the fawn should not have been taken in by Isobel Springett



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