August 17, 2002


The morning of Saturday, the 10th of August, I was cruising down the shores of the lake toward The Wilderness Cathedral. Boulders and steep cliffs formed the shoreline at this point. I looked to my left and at the bottom of the steepest cliff, the head of a little deer peered at me from behind a huge boulder. She had fallen off the cliff and was licking a wound on her side. The boat was tossing and I couldn't tell
the extent of her injuries. I took some photographs which I looked at six days later that revealed a gash in her side with what appeared to be intestines hanging out. Had I known the seriousness of her wounds I would have called a friend to put her out of her misery immediately.

When I returned to the house I sent out the following press release:


At 6:30 P.M., a beautiful doe was discovered trapped between boulders at the bottom of a cliff on the shores of Lake Livingston in East Texas. She appeared to be in good health other than a wound in her side from the fall.

She was discovered by George H. Russell, Forest Practices Chair, Lone Star Sierra Club, as he was observing forest health along the shores from his boat. Not wanting the animal to starve or be shot by authorities unless absolutely necessary, Russell called local news media for help but was met with either indifference or some interest, but not enough to commit the weekend skeleton crew to duty to help by covering the story.

Russell's parents recently donated an alligator sanctuary on the shores of the lake but when a huge alligator with an alleged wounded foot was discovered on the adjacent golf course he was shot by authorities rather than being cared for and taken to the sanctuary. Russell estimates that poachers have killed at least 200 alligators in the area, as well as other harmless reptiles, and even eagles.

"Killing animals and watching them die is considered macho in East Texas and thus the only way we can save this precious animal's life is through national media attention," said Russell. In fact East Texans go out of their way to kill animals that are attempting to cross the road and thus he has established an Internet site, to attempt to educate the American public about the plight of animals in this part of Texas.

"Please encourage the local game wardens to do everything possible to save this little deer," pleads Russell. "Only if the American public through the media cast a spotlight on the indifference to the plight of our wildlife will Texans become sensitized in a positive manner," he continued.

Russell's last words were, "Please help us save this little deer."

Please contact Mr. Russell for more information, and to make arrangements for photography.

It looked from the boat that there was no avenue of escape and so I walked the shoreline from the top of the cliff to see if I could make a better determination about what to do or how to help her. At the point above where I had seen her from the boat I looked down and there was no deer to be seen. At my feet I detected a struggle. It was a beautiful iridescent greenish-blue dragonfly that was caught in a spider's web. She seemed to be calling for help. I freed her and as she flew away, I wondered if she had asked the little deer to appear to be trapped and wounded in order for me to go to that exact spot above the cliff and save her life.

The next morning, I returned to the bottom of the cliff in the boat, and there she was. Although several animal rescue groups had responded to my pleas for help, there had been no media interest which would have caused a response from the game wardens, none of whom could be located. I asked God to heal her wounds and give her the strength to escape.

I rushed back to the house and sent out another press release:


The little doe trapped between a cliff and the waters of Lake Livingston in East Texas appears to be in relatively good health this morning. There was, however, a huge vulture perched in a dead tree just above the cliff.

George Russell of Huntsville, Texas, who discovered the plight of the deer yesterday, made several phone calls to Houston media but there was no response. The response of the newsroom at the "Houston Chronicle" was, "That sounds like a television story to me." The television stations said that they had no reporters available because of the weekend.

"I can't stand the thought of this precious little deer starving to death all alone at the bottom of the cliff with only a vulture to stand watch," said Russell.

"If I receive no help in trying to save her by noon today, I will have no choice but to call the game warden to come and kill her so that she doesn't have to suffer a long and painful death," he concluded.

Russell believes that only by focusing media attention on the plight of the beautiful creature will local authorities make an attempt to save her.

A boat is available to take reporters to the cliff site. It is only two minutes from the Russell lake house at the end of La Jolla Drive in Waterwood, Texas.

To make arrangements to visit the deer, call 936-891-5245 or 936-661-0382.

There was still no response from the media, nor Texas Parks and Wildlife officials. I finally decided to call my deer-hunting friend to go with me to send her soul to deer heaven. When we arrived in the boat, the vultures were gone and through some miracle, the little deer had managed to free herself. God must have heard my prayers for which I, the dragonfly and the little deer give thanks.


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