We Have a Deer and a Dream…

Over a year ago I got an email from my friend (author and all-around good guy) Ken Foster that said, “What about Lilly the deer?” Ken and I had been looking for a project to do together for some time. I was stumped. What about Lilly the Deer? Ken is infiniately more plugged in than I am, so he, unlike me, had seen the story circulating Facebook about a deer named Lilly who had a remarkable story.

Lilly was born on the side of the road in front of a suburban house. Her pregnant mother had been struck by a car and as she lay dying, she gave birth to the two fawns she was carrying. One did not survive, the other did. The family who owned the house was there as the little deer struggled to take its first breath. They called for the police who came but didn’t know what to do with the deer. What the police should have told them was that they should take the little fawn to a wildlife rehabilitation center, but they didn’t and that’s how Lilly’s story happened.

Ken with Lilly at her Michigan home

Ken with Lilly at her Michigan home

She grew up in a home with two humans and a few dogs and became as domestic as apple pie. One day, several years later, a neighbor informed DEM that a deer was being kept as a pet and the state declared that Lilly was either to be let go or euthanized. Of course she had no idea how to be a deer or how to survive in the wild, so naturally this seemed like a cruel and very unsatisfactory solution to the family who had raised her from her traumatic birth. A long and somewhat famous legal battle ensued. I don’t want to spoil the ending for you, but, oddly enough, the story has a happy ending. The family’s home was legally declared to be a wildlife sanctuary with a maximum capacity of precisely one deer

Now, who wouldn’t want to read a little book telling Lilly’s story using my photographs and Ken’s words? Apparently, major publishers. They thought it just wouldn’t sell. “Deer are not dogs,” one publisher said. Another went so far as to say that no one cares what happens to a deer. So…Ken and I have embarked on a mission to share Lilly’s story. We are raising funds on Kickstarter in order to publish our own book about Lilly. We have gotten so much support from our friend and peers as well as a wonderful article by The Atlantic's City Lab:

Lilly’s life is sweet and compelling, full of things that might have turned out differently, but didn’t. What I want to photograph are those moments of juxtaposition that reveal an unexpected harmony; when worlds collide but instead of crashing, they hum. With Ken's words and my photos, I think we can tell a beautiful story.

Help us spread the word that a deer and a dream still mean something. Support a warm and fuzzy creature with a warm and fuzzy happy ending. Support Lilly's story.