Star Wars Update!

Back in June, an orphaned baby deer called Star Wars was delivered to Better Farm. Only a few days old and without a home or shelter in which to stay, we adopted the baby and raised her on special formula until she could go out on her own to forage in the wild.

For almost two months she lived with us inside the main house (much to the dogs' delight), resting on couches, chewing on houseplants, and overnighting in laundry baskets, under beds, and on doggy blankets. We gave her as much time as possible outside so she could learn how to be self-sufficient and find her own food—as tempting as it was to just hold her and snuggle all day!

She cuddled, and explored the yard and garden, and bonded with people and dogs alike.
Then, one day, she went out on her own. The interns worried. The artists fretted. But Star Wars kept coming back—first she came by a few times in a day, then once a day to suck down a bunch of formula, then every other day, until we didn't see her anymore. A few times we saw her bounding in the far back if we crooned on a kazoo or otherwise mimicked her bleats. Then, nothing.

Almost three months have passed; and with the strong coyotes in the area and the recent start to hunting season, it's been questionable as to whether a baby deer raised by people and dogs would survive.

But yesterday, a neighbor was sitting in his tree stand a few hundred yards up the road from us. A small doe came out into a clearing. Our neighbor recognized the markings on the face, the shape of the head, and the movements. She began to bleat in an unmistakable way. When our neighbor answered the bleat, the small lady deer jumped, started. Then she pressed herself low to the ground. Our neighbor called out to her again. She jumped straight up into the air and bounded around in circles as we've only seen Star Wars do. She danced through the fields, circled back around, then was gone.

Stay tuned for photos...

Editor's note: If you ever find a wild animal in need of care, please make your first option a wise one and contact local authorities, shelters, and rehabilitation centers. Baby animals are surely adorable—but they are meant to be wild! Without careful, round-the-clock care, the results can be disastrous for everyone. Give every animal the space it requires to behave as it would in the wild. Animals you find are not pets!

Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.