Last Friday morning, driving south on Barr Street just before reaching Ferndale, I noticed something unusual in the beaver pond on the east side of Barr.
I often glance to see if I can catch a glimpse of a beaver there, but instead, I saw what appeared to be some other kind of animal in the south-east corner of the “beaver deceiver” installed last year. I stopped my vehicle and went to look. To my horror, it was a doe.
The corners of the beaver deceiver are stiffened with a short piece of 2×6. These are positioned a little in from the corner, resulting in an open, triangular space. The doe had gotten her head up through the open triangle and her forelegs through the wire grid. She was stuck and was clearly in significant distress, foaming a little from her mouth, shivering and obviously completely exhausted.
After a few seconds of thought and lacking any tools, I phoned Mission public works and spoke with Shirley on reception/dispatch. I explained the situation to her.
In minutes, operations manager Matt Dunham arrived in his own vehicle. He walked over to where I was standing and looked out at the deer. He was about to call for some assistance when Dennis and Julie arrived in a public works pickup. Matt took a shovel and a piece of 2×6 about six feet long from the truck.
Using these to steady himself, he walked out the 1.5 inch wide frame of the beaver deceiver until he was close to the deer. Then, using the piece of 2×6 as a platform, he knelt beside the deer and managed to get her back out of the corner and to push her back towards Dennis and Julie.
Dennis and Julie lifted it out of the water onto the shore where it lay, too exhausted and too much in shock to move.
I went to my vehicle and brought out an old quilt and warm blanket. Julie proceeded to use these to dry off and warm the deer as best she could. It was decided that the deer should be taken to a veterinarian.
The deer was taken to Hill’n Dale Animal Hospital, where Dr. Federici examined the deer, a new mother, put her on IV fluids to help with the shock and provided her with heat as well for her hypothermia.
Later Friday evening, the BC Wildlife Service released her into the same general area, hopefully to be re-united with her fawn.
Without the rapid, caring intervention of Mission Public Works staff, this deer would have drowned or died of exhaustion and hypothermia in very short order.
I would like to commend the four public works staff. We have some truly admirable people working for the residents of Mission, both human and animal.