Ideally, I would like a miniature buffalo, although I don't imagine that an animal with hooves would be very forgiving with my furniture. Maybe an elephant the size of a dachshund would be better, but not long like a dachshund. That would look ridiculous.
If hippos were the size of guinea pigs, I would have a whole flock of them. Flock? School? What do you call a group of miniature hippos?
— Brett Minor (@brettminor) March 4, 2013
We did have one hoofed animal for a pet. My brother Trevor came up on an object in the road one day that was moving. When he got out to investigate, he discovered that it was a baby deer. It appeared to still be wet from being born, but the mother could not be seen. Trevor picked up this slimy creature, put it in the back of his El Camino and drove home.
We put it in the barn and decided to take care of him. We cleaned him up, watched him stand for the first time, and started bottle feeding him. After much deliberation, we decided to name him 'Bird' after the scene in Bambi when he speaks his first word.
Our BIRD never started talking, but he was very entertaining for several months. It wasn't long before we started letting him out of the barn. He would frolic around the yard playing with dogs. They all got along great. At night, we would put him back in the barn to keep him from wandering off and keep him safe.
During the day, he would hang out at the front door just like other pets hoping to be fed. We had to be careful around him when he got playful. His hooves were sharp and we got busted in the face occasionally when he would jump up. While smashing other deer in the face may be considered endearing to deer, it is not a very appealing quality for people. We soon learned the dogs didn't care for it either.
With time, we quit putting him in the barn at night and for weeks it was just like he was one of the dogs. With time, he got to where he would wander off, but he always returned at meal time. As he got bigger, he would sometimes disappear for days at a time and for the first time was a bit timid around us. He wouldn't always let us approach. We saw him less and less as time went on.
Sometimes we would see him in a farmer's field grazing with the cows, but he never came by the house any more. The following November, my uncle was out deer hunting and thought it was odd when he kept creeping up on a deer that didn't run off even when it noticed him. He then realized that it was probably Bird and we would never forgive him if he shot it, so he left him alone and looked for another.
A few months later, we heard a story that one of our neighbor's told at the local bar. He had been in the garage behind his house changing his oil when he noticed a buck standing in his back yard. He slowly moved to the wall to grab his bow, aimed and shot. The arrow missed and went over the deer's head. The deer's head shot up and looked directly at him. The man froze wondering if he would get the opportunity to get another shot when the deer started walking toward him.
Shocked at what was happening, he didn't draw another arrow. The deer walked right up to him and nuzzled his hand. After about 30 seconds, it turned around and hopped the fence in his back yard.
When he finished his story, the other bar patrons laughed at him and asked if he had been drinking that night. No one believed his story, but we had a feeling it was true.
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