Author Anna Carner was living in a horse-friendly farming area of New Jersey in 1999, when she encountered a newborn fawn, barely breathing, near her home. The animal seemed to be communicating its need to her, and, with some experience of animal and human care, Carner set out to revive the fawn.
She took the baby deer into her house and nursed her back to health. When she and her husband, Pino, saw the fawn curled up asleep with the family dog, the couple knew they had a new pet. Her name, Blossom, seemed suited to her sweetness and soft, gentle beauty.
But the couple lived in an area where some people consider the deer population a problem; pests to be eliminated, hunting a necessary and enjoyable sport. As Blossom grew and began to range out with other, wilder kin, Carner realized she would have to take extreme methods to shield her from danger.
Carner and Pino created posters with the animal’s picture and a plea not to hurt Blossom. Some neighbors were sympathetic, but others were cynical. Some even made a practice of stalking Blossom and harassing Carner. One man claimed to have the deer in captivity, demanding a ransom for her return. Carner’s efforts to protect Blossom gradually took root in the community and soon neighbors joined in; other stray deer were saved and adopted. A widespread movement was started that included the possibility of spaying by vaccination to limit the deer population without the violence of hunting.
In writing her memoir of the years with Blossom, Carner revisits her own past and the violence she suffered as a baby at the hands of her father; injuries that required hospitalization and subsequent treatment for much of her youth. These recollections give her empathy for Blossom and other suffering creatures, and no doubt the reason she is passionate about her role as a rescuer.
Blossom, as she so vividly describes her, was an ideal patient and pet that seemed to speak at times, and to obey commands almost like a canine. The deer’s sensitivity to her human caregivers is perhaps extraordinary or may reflect what many “wild” creatures are capable of, given a chance. The chapters are interspersed with poems by Jeanne Hamilton Troast, a fellow animal enthusiast. Through action and rich, well-crafted dialog, Carner highlights her endeavors to promote better care of all animals based on the experience she and Pino shared as they cherished their time with Blossom.
Carner writes both for convinced animal lovers and, additionally, for those who may never have given the issues much thought, offering strong evidence of the worth of living in harmony with deer and other creatures whose perceived harmfulness has been to some extent created by our human rules and boundaries, not by their natural inclinations.
Not just a sweet deer with a fantastic story, Blossom is the subject for the Nat’l Geographic NATURE documentary. To view a 4-minute video of Blossom’s story please click here. Blossom was also featured in National Geographic’s Nature presentation, “The Private Life of Deer.” Please click here to see the film.