Comcast Cares; A LOT!

And Momma Deer is grateful.


It all started with a thunderstorm that knocked out Red Creek's utilities. We were without power, phone and internet for a day... a stressful time for any wildlife rehabilitator currently caring for wild patients. After the electricity was restored, Comcast was called to restore our "triple-play" services: phone, internet and cable.

It was late on a Sunday morning when Mark Reed arrived with the equipment to get us up and running. Comcast service people have always been professional and polite any time they've had to help us, but Mark was especially cheerful and he was very interested in our work.

A few days later he returned, told us about the Comcast Cares program, and asked if he could submit Red Creek as an organization they might help. We walked the property gathering ideas for projects this skilled group of Comcast employees and their families could accomplish. We talked about pen repair, landscaping, and cleanup as we meandered through the various flights and animal enclosures outdoors.

As we came to the last enclosure, Momma Deer caught Mark's attention--and it was love! Friendly and adoring, Momma received gifts of browse from Mark as I told him her story. Momma, having been kidnapped from the wild as a fawn and kept as a pet, is tame--but she has a unique gift... she nurtures fawns and teaches them to be wild animals. She raised several fawns last year, all of which returned to the wild. Soon, new fawns would be arriving for her special care. But there was one problem--her enclosure was very small for deer.

I had expressed my wish to Mark about building her a new, more spacious enclosure. He took that idea back to Comcast, it was approved and they ran with it.

Comcast Cares is a community service day, once a year, where the employees and their families volunteer to make a difference. When Mark returned with the building plans, I asked him if they could possibly build the enclosure in a single day. "If the Amish can raise a barn in a day, I think we can build a deer pen," he said.


Saturday, April 30th arrived and 49 Comcast and Red Creek volunteers came bearing tools, lunch and a "let's get it done" attitude. Work crews cleaned debris from the forest and stream, repaired worn flight enclosures, weeded gardens and planted mosquito-repelling herbs around the flight enclosures to protect the raptors from West Nile Virus.


The bulk of activity, however, took place in Red Creek's forest, away from the building and pens, where post-by-post and wall-by-wall a 1600 square foot enclosure became a reality. With solid 10 foot walls that surrounded natural pines, Momma Deer's new home would give her and her fawns a place to stretch.

Ten hours later, we stood back and surveyed the magic. Standing inside the enclosure gave a feeling of natural protection and peace. I knew Momma would feel good here.

Visibly tired but still smiling, one after another the people departed with hugs of thankfulness. What they did here for Momma and for Red Creek was awesome.  I made new friends and am left with a wonderful feeling of goodness that comes from people who are willing to give of themselves to help another.

The task of actually getting Momma Deer into her new enclosure was left to us, and we looked to another unselfish helper of Red Creek who gives of her time and expertise regularly. Dr. Carol Yeisley, owner of Berks Veterinary Services, does much of Red Creek's veterinary work. Having once been a wildlife rehabilitator and a former instructor in veterinary orthopedics at the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary College, Dr. Yeisley has the knowledge and skill to ensure that the animals of Red Creek get the best care and the best chance of a successful return to the wild. Also certified in large animal medicine, including deer, she was our first choice in helping to move Momma Deer safely.

Sunday afternoon Carol, her husband and daughter arrived. Her task: to field tranquilize Momma for the move. During Momma's sleep, Carol would also do a full exam, run some needed tests and trim her hooves. Also on hand was Greg Nason, Red Creek's wildlife rehabilitation assistant. Having developed a special bond with Momma Deer, we had hoped his presence would keep her calm.

The entire procedure went smoothly and without incident. Greg and Carol quickly sedated the adult doe, and she slowly fell asleep on Greg's lap. Momma was then carried to her new enclosure where a fresh bed of straw was waiting.

There she was examined, tested, groomed and received vaccinations. Greg gently stroked and talked to Momma, as 8 year old Kailyn handed supplies to Carol. It was teamwork at its best!


We had been warned that her awakening may be dramatic, possibly violent, and was a dangerous time for Momma and the people who tried helping her. Red Creek staff members, Morrie, Lori, Bonnie and I, as well as Mark, who had made this all possible, stood by in case there was a problem. Our presence wasn't necessary though, as Momma gradually woke up as peacefully as she had gone to sleep. Slowly she tested her balance, clumsily at first, and was soon walking about surveying her new surroundings.  As we were about to leave, she approached Greg as if asking: "is it okay?" A neck scratch and gentle voice assured her it was, and she seemed satisfied.

Momma remained groggy for most of the day and occasionally returned to the straw bed to lie down. By evening, she was once again walking about her new enclosure, apparently having recovered from the tranquilizer.

Her fawns may begin arriving any day now. 

All of Red Creek's staff, volunteers, and especially the animals of Red Creek Wildlife Center wish to thank Comcast, their employees and families, and the staff of Berks Veterinary Services for the extraordinary job done. A special thank you goes to Mark Reed and Dr. Carol Yeisley for making it happen.