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Surprise visitor delights 99-year-old Healdsburg man

  • Louis Colombano looks down at a week-old fawn that wandered into his home in Healdsburg, on Sunday, July 6, 2014.(BETH SCHLANKER/ The Press Democrat)

HEALDSBURG — A tiny fawn, hungry enough to try to suckle at the legs of every human it encountered, wandered into a Fitch Mountain-area home Sunday morning, presenting longtime resident Louis Colombano, 99, with an unexpected but irresistible guest.

Wobbly and bleating as it crossed the threshold to Colombano's South Fitch Mountain Road house, the baby deer, estimated at about a week old, had lost any fear of people it might once have possessed and just came right in, eagerly approaching its hosts in an apparent quest for food and comfort.

"He's not injured or anything, but he sure is hungry," Colombano said as the featherweight fawn, its wee hooves pattering across the linoleum flooring, explored its temporary quarters.

The spotted creature "was obviously in distress, looking for something," said his daughter, Louette Colombano of Mill Valley. "We've never ever been this close to the deer here."

Colombano, whose 1879 home has been in his family for 75 years, is accustomed to a wide variety of wildlife who make his once rural property home. Raccoons, coyote, even a red fox that turned up last week are among the animals often about. There are lots of deer, as well, including a collection of three bucks, two does and three fawns seen lurking in the driveway Sunday morning as he and his daughter ate breakfast.

But soon, another fawn turned up in the company of neighbors who had been out for a walk. The baby kept jumping on them, apparently trying to nurse, and then began its plaintive cry, Louette Colombano said.

When she opened the back door so she and her father could find out what was going on, "it just walked right in," Louette Colombano said.

"Right in," said her father, a combination of curiosity and pleasure on his face.

Louette Colombano called the police department for advice and was informed that others had reported a stray fawn overnight in the neighborhood. She then called Wildlife Fawn Rescue, a Kenwood-based nonprofit whose representative eventually came to collect the baby deer.

A police dispatcher confirmed that a 911 call had been made shortly before 8:30 p.m. Saturday reporting a fawn on its own in a field near Badger Park, some blocks away on the other side of South Fitch Mountain Road, though there's no way to know if it was the same one.

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