This is one of a number of stories I have included on these pages about some of
the non-human beings who have I have had the honor of connecting with.

Doe The Deer

One afternoon, several years ago, I was sitting at the top of our hill watching a little doe with twins. I had recently read a book by J. Allen Boone called Kinship with All Life, which opened a up whole new world.

Reading about the relationship Boone formed with a German Shepherd named Strongheart, was the first time I realized it was possible for animals to understand me. More about that some other time. This particular afternoon, as I watched the little fawns playing in our hay field I decided to try talking with their mother. I got quiet, centered, and focused my attention on her. She quickly raised her head, looking in my direction. I don't remember exactly what I communicated to her; something about how it must be more work to have twins than one and how excited I was at the idea of communicating.

Almost immediately she let me know that however thrilled I was to connect to her and however enamored I might be, she did not have time for me and most definitely did not share my sense of amazement at the possibility. She very clearly communicated that she didn't have time to be satisfying my curiosity. Nor did she, a wild animal, find it as awe-inspiring to talk to a human as I, a human, did to talk to a deer. I'm not sure what, exactly, I expected from her, but it certainly wasn't that. I laughed; what else could I do? I had just been rebuffed by a deer.

As disappointed as I was that she dismissed me, her reaction was perfect. I was confident in what I heard. I knew I hadn't "made it up," because I hadn't expected that reaction at all. It hadn't occurred to me that she wouldn't be just as thrilled to connect with me as I was about her. Looking back, I was pretty obnoxious. And she let me know it.

I have learned so much since that afternoon. I always approach animals -- whether domestic or wild -- respectfully and with an offer to connect, not an expectation. I request; I don't presume. I have come to appreciate them as equals, as messengers, as teachers.

I am so grateful to that little doe for the gift she gave me of saying no.