Calamity Jane – An unusual success story, by Jack Mudd 

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Published: March 11th, 2015

By Jack Mudd, Plett local and author.

“Hi Lucy, it’s Eve. I am bringing this tiny Bushbuck fawn for you. I found it badly broken, but alive after it and its mother got hit by a truck on our dirt road… shame its mother did not survive… Don’t worry, I raced it off to Andre Reitz who has wired its jaw up (it was broken in three places) and reset a badly damaged shoulder. He says if the stress doesn’t kill her, she should survive. I’ll see you in fifteen minutes.”

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“Calamity Jane” 10 years on, on the far right.

This tiny, beaten up, confused and frightened bokkie (I guess maybe three weeks old at most) was handed over to Lucy and I wrapped securely in a towel. Its huge, sad, brown eyes stared stressfully at us. It almost appeared to be trying to tell us what an awful predicament she was in.

One look at this delicate baby told me that we had an almost impossible task. Under these circumstances, stress was a sure killer. If we could just get her through the next forty eight hours it would truly be a miracle.

“See here?” said Eve enthusiastically, pointing her ‘Puinktjie’ finger to an opening of about 10mm in the front of this little things mouth. “Dr Reitz has left a gap in her jaw to bottle feed her. Her whole jaw is wired up and has to stay like this for eight weeks,” Eve advised.

“Ja… Well no fine,” I thought. “This is crazy. It’s bad enough rearing them when they are all in one piece.”

She survived, went free, but came home to Lucy for her usual snack of cabbage most evenings. Every fawn that she produced was proudly brought out of the wild to our kitchen back door to show Lucy how clever she was.

The rest is history. It’s 10 years down the line and the “Old girl” (Calamity Jane) is still fine, a little grey and skinny, but another one on the way!

The pic above, taken yesterday 10 Mar 2015, shows all her daughters. We have a whole herd of them that return home almost daily from the bush for a snack. That’s what I call a successful rehabilitation! “Calamity” is on the far right of the pic.

Jack Mudd

(For more information on stories and books by Jack Mudd, visit www.jackmudd.co.za)