This story began when Isobel Springett found a tiny newborn fawn in the woods behind her home in Courtney, BC. Hoping there was a mother deer that would return, Kate left the fawn where she found it.
However, that’s not what happened. The very next day, she began to hear crying that went on for three days. Like most of us, she couldn’t stand to hear the sounds of a baby in need, so she made a decision.
She went back to the woods and brought the fawn home.
Not knowing where else to lay it down, she settled in on the bed of her Great Dane, Kate.
According to Isobel,
“Kate took one look at her, and that was it. It was, thank you, I’ll take over now.”
Kate’s Maternal Instincts Take Over
Isobel states that while Kate never had puppies of her own, she did have maternal instincts toward little things. And those instincts came to the fore for the fawn now named Pippin.
Kate remained patient even when the baby tried to suckle, despite not having anything to latch onto.
When Pippin was two weeks old, some of her own instincts started to take over and she returned to the woods. She was a wild animal, and that’s where she wanted to be.
However, she didn’t disappear forever. She would go to the woods to sleep at night, but every single day she would return to Kate.
The maternal relationship between Kate and Pippin lasted for about six months.
The Relationship Changes
After about six months, Isobel began to notice a change in the relationship between the two.
At that point, she says the relationship became…
“…a friendship, playtime, buddy thing. The older Pip got, the more they would play like friends.”
She was also quite astounded at the way to two animals suppressed what would be considered normal behavior between them. When Kate played with other dogs, she was more aggressive in her play, but with Pippin she toned down that behavior and was quite gentle instead. And Pippen was the opposite. She got a little rougher in her play with Kate.
Isobel said it was like watching them make compromises for each other.
An Enduring Friendship
Kate and Pippin have known each other five years. And according to Isobel, Pippen is a mother herself now, having had seven fawns of her own.
And despite spending most of her time with her wild herd, she returns to the area around the house and Kate when it comes time to give birth.
While the unlikely relationship between these animals—one of them wild—started as a maternal and nurturing one, it has evolved.
Isobel describes them as old friends and bases this on how they act when they see each other.
“They don’t greet each other like ‘Hey!’ They greet each other like you would a really good, old friend that you see quite often and you just ‘How you doing?’ and just hang out. You don’t even have to talk.”
And while it seems they are both too mature to play, they will nuzzle and lay in the shade together. Sometimes Pippin will visit with Kate for three or four hours. Other times she just comes for a nap on one of the dog beds.
If you want more about Kate and Pippin, you can visit their website.
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Source: Real Wild