Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to right sidebar Skip to footer

Unlikely visitors to our home

It’s not uncommon for my family to see as many as eight deer grazing while they search for food in our neighborhood. My philosophy is that our home was built in the middle of their feeding area, and we are the intruders. It took me awhile to accept this as a past experience kept haunting me.
It was late October, approximately 10 years ago. Our oldest son, David, decided at the last minute he was going on a weekend camping trip with the Boy Scouts. Armed with a list of Ramen noodles, Tang and Pop Tarts, I headed out to the car to make a quick trip to the grocery store. As I was approaching the car, I noticed three deer running down our street. There was a county park not too far from us, but the deer that inhabited that area didn’t seem to venture too far into civilization. I found it strange, but continued to get into my vehicle.
As I was inserting my keys into the ignition, I looked up and saw two of the deer crashing through my glass storm door. In amazement, I watched as the glass shattered across our front stoop into the azalea bushes. Surely this could not be happening. After waiting for close to a minute, I realized these deer were not doing a u-turn and coming back out my front door. While my children might tell you differently, I am not a screamer. When the realization that two deer had free rein in my home hit, I began to scream, and scream, and scream. Actually, it became more of a continuous wail. My first thought was, “I am going to have to replace that door!” It didn’t occur to me that there might me more things that needed replacing.
Our youngest son, Michael, was across the street playing in the front yard of our neighbor’s house. He came running and jumped into the car with me. I have to give him credit; he was a lot calmer than I was. My biggest fear was that my two sons who were downstairs in the basement would come up the stairs and encounter the trespassers. At this time, our middle son, Brian, had been diagnosed with a blood disease. Keeping him safe from bruising and bumping had been a full-time job for me. His platelet count would plummet, posing a serious danger to a very active child. If he started bleeding, he would be in serious trouble before help could arrive. My heart pounding in my chest, I kept thinking, “What if Brian comes up the stairs and is knocked over or gouged by one of these terrified animals?” Throughout all of this, I somehow realized these deer must be as scared as I was.
Our neighbors were all in close proximity. Within just a few minutes, the word was out. There were deer in the Walter’s home. Michael ran around to the back of the house, warning his brothers not to go up the stairs and to get out of the house immediately. Not sure whether deer can go up and down stairs, I didn’t want to take any chances. The two oldest boys simply thought our dog was having a good time running back and forth across the kitchen floor.
As the boys came running up the hill, having left the basement via the back door, one of our neighbors ran into the house to find our golden retriever. As he walked out carrying Rosie, I was immediately in tears. He found her trembling as she hid in the laundry room amid a pile of sheets, towels and teenage boys’ socks. As one neighbor grabbed my cell phone from my hand to call 911 for help, the other ran back inside to try and get the doors onto the screened porch opened up. He kept telling me they needed an outlet. I kept thinking, “Why can’t they just come back out the front door like they went in?” Needless to say, I was not rationalizing very well.
Phil had roughly a 30-minute drive to get home from his office. Several times he called me asking, “Tell me what happened again.” I would wail, “Just come home, come home.” By the time he arrived at home, the police had arrived. There wasn’t a whole lot they could do as we waited for animal control. One of the deer did run back out the front door, while the other decided to jump off our 15-foot screened porch into the back yard. The deer lay still for a short time, but jumped up and hopped the back fence into the woods.
One of our helpful neighbors walked into my house, came back out and took my hand, offering their home for my family to stay in that night. I was stunned. “Is it that bad?” I gingerly asked. The look on his face told me it was. He and another neighbor walked me inside the house. Laura had me by one arm, supporting me like I was an invalid or a 95-year-old woman in need of assistance. My first thoughts were that they were being extremely dramatic. Nothing could have prepared me for the sights awaiting me.
The deer wanted out, and any window they saw they made an attempt to escape. One of the windows in the dining room was shattered. This was where the trail of blood began. As I walked through the kitchen and looked up to the ceiling, there were areas where blood had sprayed. At first my thoughts were that everyone in the neighborhood would know I hadn’t done my dishes yet and there was clean laundry waiting to be folded on the kitchen table. As I looked closely, I could see the blood all over that once clean laundry, on my cookbooks and decorative items. Stepping into the family room was the worst sight of all. The back wall and French doors onto the porch were covered in blood from floor to ceiling. It looked as if someone had taken a bucket of red paint and thrown it up against the area, over and over and over. Blood was all over the carpets and kitchen flooring. At this point, the police informed me they had been to murder scenes that didn’t look this bad.
Phil finally made it home, aghast at the destruction in our home. People were walking through our house, commenting on how terrible it was and what a shame this had happened. Phil leaned into me and whispered, “Who is that?” I replied, “I don’t know.” People we had never met came wandering through the house when they heard about the deer invasion. I jokingly suggested we should put out a coffee can to accept donations to offset the insurance deductible.
Our house eventually was put back together. A hazmat team came out that evening to disinfect, rip up carpet and clean up the shattered glass. After receiving a new dining room window, new carpet and a new paint job, the house was back in order. You can understand why I was a bit skeptical when I realized I was surrounded by deer in our new home. I don’t pay them too much mind anymore. We seem to be able to co-exist on the same bit of land up here in Johnson County, and I certainly hope it stays that way.