Orphaned, injured fawns find new life with rescue group

By: Leah Rosasco, Loomis News Correspondent
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Spring brings new birth, and a Loomis rescue group is gearing up to help fawns that run into trouble. Kindred Spirits Fawn Rescue is in its second season as an independent rescue facility. Founder Diane Nicholas worked with injured fawns for five years at Gold Country Wildlife Rescue until they could no longer continue the operation. ?It?s an expensive proposition,? Nicholas said. Now licensed by the California Department of Fish and Game, Kindred Spirits receives about 800 calls per season. Nicholas and her husband, Bill, foot most of the operation?s costs and rely on volunteer help. ?We have some amazing volunteers,? Nicholas said. Recently, volunteer Sean Smith, of Roseville, helped build fawn holding pens and strung electric fencing to keep mountain lions out. Smith, who also created and maintains the organization?s website, said he?s amazed by the effort that goes into the fawn rescue. ?It?s definitely a labor of love that she?s giving,? Smith said of Nichols? dedication to the sick and injured animals. Last July, Sue Galvez, of Christian Valley, and her neighbors stopped dogs that were attacking a fawn. Galvez had seen a Kindred Spirits poster and called Nicholas, who advised her to take the fawn to Loomis Basin Veterinary Clinic. ?I didn?t think it was going to make it,? Galvez said. After receiving stitches and medical care, the fawn was released to Kindred Spirits for care and rehabilitation and was eventually released into the wild, which Galvez said, is as it should be. ?We have encroached upon them, they?ve not encroached upon us,? Galvez said, referring to deer habitat. ?It?s up to us to be stewards.? Nicholas visits classrooms and attends community meetings to explain how people can coexist with deer, which typically means preventing deer from feeling comfortable around humans and their pets. ?Once a deer is no longer afraid of people or dogs, they have much less chance of surviving in the wild,? Nicholas said. According to Nicholas, a wide variety of illness and injuries bring the baby deer to her facility. Kindred Spirits is currently working with a young doe suffering from neck and back puncture wounds that couldn?t walk or barely lift its head. Nicholas found veterinarian Karly Delano, in Sutter Creek, to help. ?I was pretty skeptical about her recovery,? Delano said. She said the doe?s head trauma had caused nerve damage. After six weeks of therapy, including acupuncture to help stimulate the nerve pathways and immune system, the deer is improving. ?I?ve worked with animals with traumatic head injuries and it?s not typically a good outcome,? she said. ?This one is improving by leaps and bounds.? Kindred Spirits is also caring for a 2-day-old fawn found wandering along a busy trucking route, and another, which Nicholas said has been raised by humans. ?She is way too comfortable around people,? Nicholas said. Although the deer is in good health, she cannot be released until Nicholas is able to ?wild her up,? a process that requires a bit of tough love. While she admits ?tough love? is difficult, Nicholas said it?s the only way to get the animals ready for life in the wild, which is the ultimate goal. ?There is nothing more rewarding than releasing them back into the wild and watching them trot off to live their lives,? Nicholas said. Kindred Spirits Fawn Rescue Information: 889-5822,