Most people keep dogs or cats as pets. If you go a little more rural, you might uncover stories of especially friendly cows or clingy sheep, but have you ever heard of someone keeping a deer?
Now you have! Meet Buddy, the Fallow deer who lives with his owner, Leila, and Shetland Sheltie friends, Quinn and Darcy, in the Adelaide Hills.
Buddy was born on the deer farm that Leila’s parents own. Unfortunately, mama deer neglected Buddy when he was born, most likely because he didn’t make any of the usual fawn noises.
It’s a sad story with a happy ending, because Leila adopted Buddy into her family and he fit right in!
Her Shelties, Quinn and Darcy, visit her parent’s farm regularly, so they’re used to being around deer, which made integrating Buddy surprisingly easy. Buddy is now one of the pack!
Leila says Quinn mothers Buddy with sloppy kisses, while Darcy tries to teach Buddy how to do like a dog and play fetch. It’s yet to be successful.
Keeping a deer seems similar to having any other pet, complete with the skidding on the wooden floor and trying to eat the Christmas tree. Leila mentions the toilet training is a bit of a struggle, but if Buddy takes to the training the way he took to the doggy door, we’re sure he’ll get the hang of it soon enough.
Buddy will stay with his family until weaned off milk (and potentially until his antlers grow in and make it too hard to fit through the doggy door), at which point he’ll re-integrate with the deer herd—but he’ll still be considered a part of Leila’s family!
Keep up to date with Buddy and his friends on his Facebook page. Until then, take some time to fawn over these gorgeous pics!