An apparently sick fawn has given a whole new meaning to "open house" for an Andover real estate agent.
Realtor Peggy Patenaude of Prudential Howe & Doherty Realtors on Bartlet Street, was recently getting ready for an open house at a home on Forest Street in North Andover. Her husband, Joe Osbaldeston, was retreiving the open house sign from the home's garage.
Upon entering the garage, Osbaldeston noticed something frail and freckly.
"He thought it was a yard ornament," Patenaude said.
A closer look revealed it was a motionless fawn that seemed barely alive.
"It must of gotten in the garage when the lawn was being mowed and the garage door was open...it (the fawn) must have been in there for two days. The lawn was mowed Friday and the open house was the following Sunday," Patenaude said. "There is a lot of woods in the area and that's where it came from."
Mass. Wildlife advises people to avoid intervening with baby animals seen on their lawn, as the animal is probably fine and a parent may be nearby.
River Road Veterinary Hospital in Andover recommends that people call Tufts University Veterinary School (508-839-5395) if they happen upon an abandoned fawn. Cecilia Murch of Tufts University Veterinary School said fawns are stressed animals. She said humans should leave fawns alone as their mothers often leave them for stretches of time.
"The fawn looks abandoned but really isn't. Keep an eye on the fawn for a few hours," Murch said. "If the fawn is still alone and looks injured, then it's time for an animal rehabilitator and time to call us."
In the North Andover case, the fawn was believed to have been stuck in a garage.
Patenaude guessed the fawn was less than a week old and simply couldn't get up on its legs. So, Osbaldeston brought the baby deer to their North Andover home. They nursed it all night. The weak fawn spent the night curled up in their living room as the couple used an eye dropper to feed it baby formula, said Patenaude.
The next day, the fawn stood on its four wobbly legs.
An animal control officer with North Andover Police told the couple the fawn should go back to the spot where it was found. That's also the advice given by Mass. Wildlife on its website.
The couple returned to the Forest Street lawn and within minutes, an adult deer walked across the lawn. Then, both deer walked off into the woods.
Osbaldeston described it as a "Disney ending" for a Channel 4 television reporter.
It certainly is a treasured memory for the couple, who formerly lived in Andover and moved to North Andover last February.
Mass. Wildlife advice
The following information is from the frequently asked questions portion of website of the Mass. Division of Fisheries and Wildlife.
Q: I found an abandoned fawn near the edge of a field on my property. I brought the fawn into my house to save it, but I don't know how to care for it. What should I do?
A: Immediately take the fawn back to the spot where you found it, and leave it there. The mother will come back again looking for the fawn. Fawns have been successfully reunited with their mothers by returning them to the place where they were found even one or two days after removal from the wild. When you picked up the fawn, the mother was probably feeding not far away. Young fawns are usually quite safe when left alone because their color pattern and lack of scent help them to remain undetected until their mothers return. This is true for many other species of wildlife.