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.


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!


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.