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Lazarus' story & photo gallery

Lazarus' story

Fawn – buck, born May 25, 2011
Arrived at my facility the evening of May 25 in excellent physical condition (alert, no visible wounds or abrasions) with the exception of deformities of all four legs (lower part of extremities, photos attached). Fawn suckled 4 oz of milk replacer soon after its arrival. Upon manual stimulation, fawn passed clear urine.

Fawn ingested 4 oz of formula the following morning and subsequently passed meconium and clear urine with manual stimulation. Fawn is able to move around with difficulty by pulling forward with front legs and bouncing like a pogo stick with back legs which are hindered by the fact the lower legs and folded to the inside and catch on each other.

Goat colostrum was acquired on May 26 and fed to fawn for 36 hours of feedings. Fawn is being fed 4 times daily (4-5 oz per feeding) with fresh goats’ milk followed by manual stimulation to encourage passage of urine and feces (stools are semi-firm and brown in color, no signs of loose stool to date), fawn weighs about 4 lbs

May 31: contact was made by phone to Dr Douglas Kern DVM, of Scarborough (885-1290) to inquire about the possibility of corrective surgery for legs. An appointment has been made for an initial examination on June 7. After speaking with Jack Knight I placed a call to Gray biologist to Scott Lindsey to request permission and instructions on obtaining a lifetime permit for this deer.

June 1: today fawn’s diet was gradually switched from fresh goats’ milk to a commercial milk replacer formula specifically designed for fawns. He continues to eat well and pass healthy appearing urine and feces. He appears alert, with no abnormal discharges from any orifices. His mobility steadily improves each day as he is learning to cope with the abnormalities of his legs.

June 3: I have a reliable source of fresh goats’ milk and gradually switched the fawn back to the goats’ milk, fawn weighs 6 lbs, 8 ounces
The June 7 appointment with Dr Kerns was postponed until I spoke with Gray biologist Scott Lindsey.

June 10: Phone contact was made with Scott Lindsey. He stated he would speak with someone in Augusta at F&W on Monday, June 13 about my request to keep this deer. I spoke with Scott late afternoon of June 3 and was told he would be sending me an application for an “exhibition” permit for the deer the next day

June 11: fawn is making significant mobility progress, moving faster and with more ease, front legs are stronger and more coordinated, back legs are still used as a single unit as the feet being turned inward impede normal walking

June 12: fawn weighs 9 lbs 12 ounces today and is drinking about 8 – 10 ounces of goats’ milk 4 times per day, manual stimulation results in continued firm stools, fawn is urinating on his own now

June 14: an appointment was made today for Dr Kerns to see the fawn on June 16 at 10:30 am, corrective surgery to the legs is estimated to cost $1000

June 15: permit application was not in the mail so I downloaded the attached application from the F&W website. I am not sure if this is the correct one but am filling it out and submitting it.
I am requesting a lifetime permit to keep this deer, as its physical condition prevents it from the ability to survive in the wild. The deer will be castrated when old enough to reduce its testosterone levels and thereby reduce the potentially aggressive nature exhibited by adult bucks. If the personality of the deer is suitable for educational purposes, I intend to develop a program to present to special education students (visiting my facility), encouraging them to make the best use of their physical limitations, just as this deer exhibited a strong will to live and thrive even with its deformities. I will include in the program the do’s and don’ts regarding wildlife they, personally, might come across. Over the years I’ve visited numerous schools presenting programs to educate children about encounters with wildlife. I’ve been a permitted wildlife rehabilitator for the state of Maine since 1978 (permit # 857) I still have my original permit, issued by Maynard F. Marsh. I grew up in upstate N.Y and since I was a child, local game wardens (some of my father’s associates) brought numerous varieties of wildlife to me to rehabilitate in a less formal arrangement. I understand the importance of returning wildlife to its natural habitat whenever possible and have done so with a large number of individuals. This fawn is a very special case and because it is doing so well in spite of its disabilities, I firmly believe it would be a travesty to just euthanize it. I also believe, from a scientific point of view, it would be an interesting case study to see how this deer does with corrective surgery. I hope the information I’ve presented is sufficient to allow me to have a lifetime permit for this deer.
I will maintain any documentation required by the state as well as maintain observational documentation, if requested, on the deer.
Should the deer show signs of “failure to thrive” or exhibit dangerous behavior, you have my word that Jack Knight will be notified immediately and the deer will be dispatched humanely.

June 20: fawn is showing substantial improvement in mobility, moving faster and with a marked increase in ease of movement

June 22: fawn weighs 12 lbs

June 24: hair on legs, where floor contact is made, is wearing away, began treatment of calundula cream to keep skin protected

June 26: began regiment of 2 capsules, once a day for one week, of “ruta graveolens” homeopathic remedy for tendon/ligament therapy and “rescue remedy” cream for skin on legs

June 27: Gary Yackley came to farm to assess fawn’s legs for prosthesis consideration, ttook pics to confer with associates, offered his services for free (mold and make protective cushioned boots to assist in weight bearing), he suggested contacting Dr. Tom Gauger of Norway Vet Hospital for consult regarding removal of hoof area to facilitate better boot fittings

June 30: met with Dr Gauger, after lengthy conversation and consideration, he offered to operate for free, surgery is scheduled for July 8 at 11 am

July 8: surgery postponed until July 15, due to emergency at Dr. Gauger’s

July 15: Lazarus weighs 16 lbs, arrived at vet’s at 7:30 am, I assisted with pre & post op care and was able to be in the operating room during the surgery which lasted about 2 hours (Lazarus was castrated, right front hoof was amputated, both back legs were amputated at the area where the legs were fused backward), Lazarus came out of the anesthesia slowly and was breathing on his own and also drank some of his goat’s milk before we left the vet’s at about 1:30 pm
Injectable antibiotics and pain medication were sent home with us

Polyflex (antibiotic) – SQ in the PM July 15 PM

Metacam (antibiotic) - SQ once daily in the AM (0.3cc)

Baytril (antibiotic) – SQ once daily in the AM (1cc)

Buprenex – SQ 2-3 times daily (1cc) starting July 15 for pain management (given at 3 pm, again at 9 pm)

Reiki treatment was given to Lazarus by Kristen Gauger and flowers essence for his water was prepared by her also)
Skin sutures may be removed in two weeks, Dr. Gauger suggested Lazarus not move around a lot and have ample padding under him to protect his legs, at home (about 2:30 pm) layers of sheets and disposable urine pads were set up in his enclosure in the house, Lazarus drank the rest of his bottle of milk, drank some water, nibbled a little of his solid food and passed normal pellets (stool) upon being manually stimulated, he passed urine later in the evening

July 16: Lazarus slept quietly thru the night waking at 6 am and moving around in his confined sleeping area (appearing to be settling into a more comfortable position), we got up at 7:30 am, note: urine was passed some time during the night so he may have been moving away from the wet area, he drank a full portion of goat’s milk in the am (passed normal stool), drank more water and ate more solid feed, he attempted to walk around and was kept in a small confined area with padding on floor and sides. Legs are seeping slightly with pinkish blood when he moves around, it stops when he settles down to rest, Buprenex was administered morning, mid-afternoon and just before retiring to bed at 10 pm (need for pain med was indicated by marked increase in tail switching and leg tremors), antibiotics were administered in the am

July 17: Lazarus slept thu the night, waking at 7 am, antibiotics were administered in the am, he appeared to be comfortable all day and no pain meds were administered until about 7 pm when he began the tail switching and leg tremors, a second dose was administered at about midnight – just before retiring to bed (his temp was 99.6 F), throughout the day Lazarus drank his goat’s milk, water with the Flower essence, nibbled deer pellets and dirt and clover

July 18: Lazarus woke up thrashing in his sleeping area, I got up and attempted to calm him by stroking his head and applying light massage on his spine, this did not help, I brought him downstairs, administered his antibiotics and the last pain med, took his temp (104 F) as his body felt hot, called the Dr to let him know I was bringing Lazarus in to the hospital because his temp was high and he appeared to be in more discomfort, arrived at the vet’s at 6:45 am, assistant took his temp (105 F), Dr Gauger checked Lazarus, said the stitches looked good, and ordered three more days of antibiotics (Baytril and Metacam - has anti-inflammatory agents in it), his temp had begun to come down (104 F), I checked resources when I arrived home and discovered normal temps for fawns is between 100 – 102 F, Lazarus appeared more comfortable as the day went by, I spent more time with Lazarus massaging him and stroking him, he ate well and passed normal stool and urine

July 19: Lazarus slept thru the night with no thrashing, he drank all his milk, passed normal stool, antibiotics were administered, voided urine, appears much more comfortable today, is not using his legs to move around, instead he is throwing his body (has a scrape above one eye and hair loss on the un-amputated leg which he lays on most of the time, fixed more padding around the inside of his containment areas (applying rescue remedy cream to scrapes), he indicates he wants to move from one area to the other (under table/in fence area in kitchen), he appears to want to urinate in fenced area and rest under table

July 20: Lazarus continues to thrive, he is starting to try to get up on his legs, balance appears difficult but he perseveres

July 21: Lazarus is able to more easily get himself upright, forward movement is not achieved yet (switching over to dry fawn formula as fresh goats’ milk is not available right now, no indication of digestive difficulties with the change in milk), last dose of antibiotics today– no sign of gastrointestinal problems during the course of treatment, stools remain normal

July 22: Lazarus is beginning to balance better on his legs and is attempting to motivate – he is now able to use his hind legs independently (as opposed to before the amputation – the hind legs caught on each other not allowing independent movement)

July 25: Swelling (appears to be fluid) in left hind lower leg (below knee), called vet was recommended not to hot pack it, swelling increased in 1 ½ hrs, called vet at home and was advised to use 20 gauge hypodermic needle to check if fluid is serum or pus (was serum), contacted acupuncturist who recommended area to apply massage to help reduce swelling, Rescue Remedy for animals is being utilized, Lazarus is eating and eliminating normally

July 26: swelling appears to be partially reduced, Lazarus is eating and eliminating normally

July 27: swelling increased as day went on, massage to leg continuing, by evening the swelling was substantial, Lazarus is eating and eliminating normally

July 28: swelling in leg burst open and pinkish serum and “core” came out, opening has been seeping fluid most of the day it was continually kept clean all day and swelling is almost completely gone, temp is 101 at evening feeding, Lazarus is eating and eliminating normally

July 29: leg is still swollen, I punctured the closed hole with a sterile hypodermic needle to release more serum and core from the area, temp is 102 at morning feeding

July 30: swelling on one side of leg decreased, swelling on other side burst and released serum and core at site of clamp during surgery, Lazarus continues to eat well and pass normal feces, weight is 17 lbs, 10 ounces, Lazarus started eating fine hay, along with deer food pellets

July 31: swelling is almost gone, drainage of serum continues

August 1: stitches from all three legs are removed, Dr Gauger says healing looks good, continue keep Lazarus on padding for ambulatingd, left a message for Gary Yackley regarding adaptive boots

August 8: Gary Yackley came and made molds of Lazarus’ three legs, Laz remained calm and kept his legs still while the molds were applied and dried, I put him on my living room floor, at Gary’s request, to see what Laz would do, he was able to throw his body up to a standing position and he actually was able to walk almost normally a short distance for the first time since his amputations, it was incredible how easily he was able to use his legs, the cast molds were then removed so Gary could take them to his technicians to create adaptive boots with cell foam inside to help with weight bearing

August 10: Lazarus is attempting to walk a little more each day, he is not able to move forward very well as his front leg is a bit short to utilize it for forward motion (as observed by Gary on Sunday), he is continuing to eat and eliminate well, eating grass, clover, hay, deer pellets, goat’s milk and water.

Aug 16: Gary and Sharon brought prototype booties for Laz and they fit just fine. He used the hind legs very well, the front bootie needs to be revamped (slightly lengthened and more grip on the bottom to prevent sliding)

Aug 17: Laz weighs 21 lbs

Aug 20: news article (Sun Journal & Portland Press Herald) Fawn fitted with prosthetics By Mark LaFlamme, Staff Writer, Published on Friday, Aug 19, 2011 Lewiston Sun Journal article

August 24: Lazarus walked from the kitchen to the living room without falling down

August 25: moved Lazarus to a larger pen in the monkey room, placed foam padding on cement floor then covered with incontinence pads for cushioning, foam appears to make it more difficult for Lazarus to move around but is necessary for protection of his legs

Aug 26: continue to bring Lazarus outside, sloped areas are more difficult for him to attempt to walk

August 29: began bringing Lazarus outside in penned in area out back where it is flat land, the dirt appears to give him better footing to attempt to walk, he continues to persevere in his attempts

Sept 6: called about status of application for exhibition permit – went through 4 people at F&W before someone could find my application, I was then told it was the wrong one (after waiting since June 15), they would send the correct one

Sept 8: Lazarus weighs 26 pounds now, his prothestic boots seem to be getting too small for him, he continues to accept the back ones easily and fights the front one, need to consider an alternative for the front leg, his hind legs look good but I continue to put on his boots so if he needs them in the future he will be used to them, received new application

Sept 9: sent new application with check for $147 (2 yr)

Sept 11: framework and roof for outside shelter is complete, 6’ tall fencing is up

Sept 16: received denial letter with my check back

Sept 17: received 2nd (identical letter) denial of application

Sept 20: Lazarus is exhibiting signs of bloat, spoke with Helen Ramsdall about remedies to try to eliminate the problem, according to several reliable sources young animals with multiple stomachs are susceptible to this problem and it is not easy to overcome

Sept 21: Lazarus does not seem to be improving

Sept 22: Lazarus was euthanized as his body was shutting down because the bloat was unable to be cured, I believe this was God’s way of choosing Lazarus’ fate rather than the state

Photos of Lazarus
(Click on images for larger view)

Lazarus Lazarus
May 25, 2011
Fawn is brought to my home after being found on a homeowner's front lawn
Fawn is approximately 12 hours old


May 28, 2011

After caring for the fawn for a couple days, fully believing he would exhibit "failure to thrive" symptoms, the fawn remained alert, eating well (colostrum for the first couople days, then fresh goat's milk dontated by Helen Ramsdall from Denmark, Maine) and eliminating normal urine and feces. (What went in, exited well)

I decided to name him Lazarus, as he was as good as dead because of the deformities of all four of his legs, and, being discovered by caring individuals, he was given a second chance at life. It was a miracle he was found in the homeowners's yard before being eaten by some predator.


June 12, 2011


June 12, 2011


June 12, 2011


June 12, 2011


June 17, 2011


June 22, 2011


July 4, 2011




Lazarus' legs

Lazarus' legs before amputation

Left front leg flailed (flopped around) from the ankle down
Right front leg flailed (flopped around) from the ankle down and was fused at the elbow
Both back legs wer, separately, fused backward and inward at the knee

He managed to adapt to his predicament by using his left front leg to pull himself forward while using his back legs like a pogo stick. The right front leg acted as a balance stabilizer.


Lazarus' legs

back legs


Lazarus' back legs

back legs


July 15, 2011
The Surgery

Click here for pictures of the actual surgery.
WARNING - very graphic

  Lazarus' legs after amputation  
Lazarus' legs Lazarus' legs Lazarus' legs
Lazarus' legs Lazarus' legs Lazarus' legs
The Day After Surgery
Taking it easy while on subq pain medication for three days along with antibiotics/anti-inflammatory medication
Lazarus - day after surgery Lazarus - day after surgery Lazarus - day after surgery
Lazarus - day after surgery Lazarus - day after surgery Lazarus - day after surgery
Lazarus - day after surgery Lazarus - day after surgery Lazarus - day after surgery
Lazarus - day after surgery Lazarus - day after surgery Lazarus
Lazarus The Healing Continues Lazarus
  August 1, 2011
Stitches Removed
Dr Gauger & Lazarus

Dr Gauger & Lazarus

Dr Gauger

Dr Gauger & Lazarus
  August 7, 2011
Beginning the Prothesis Process
Lazarus prothesis molds Lazarus prothesis molds Lazarus prothesis molds
Lazarus prothesis molds

Lazarus prothesis molds

Lazarus remained still while Gary Yackly, certified prosthetist, applied the cast/molds on his three legs, to Gary's complte surprise!

Lazarus prothesis molds

Sharon Yackley

Lazarus prothesis molds

Lazarus prothesis molds

Lazarus & Me

Lazarus prothesis molds

As soon as Lazarus was placed on the floor, with the cast/molds on, he began to walk almost normally!! It was truly yet another miracle in his life.

Lazarus   Lazarus


Prothetic Boots for Lazarus



First set of boots



Modified front boot

Lazarus with boots Lazarus with boots Lazarus with boots
Lazarus with boots

Lazarus with boots

First Steps

Lazarus with boots
Lazarus with boots Lazarus with boots Lazarus with boots
Lazarus with boots Lazarus with boots Lazarus with boots
Lazarus with boots Lazarus with boots Lazarus with boots
Lazarus Lazarus Lazarus


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