The heartwarming bond between a stray dog and an orphaned deer has touched the hearts of all who have witnessed their unique friendship. Ella, a one-year-old doe, was born in 2011 at Elmwood Cemetery in Kansas City, Missouri, but tragically lost her mother in a traffic accident. Since then, she has made the cemetery her home, becoming an unofficial mascot and often attending funerals and other events. Recently, a stray female Shar Pei mix joined her at the cemetery, and an instant connection blossomed between the two.
Although many wished to keep these extraordinary friends together, officials at Elmwood Cemetery grew concerned for the dog’s well-being as winter approached. Suggestions were made to provide an outdoor shelter and leave food for the dog, but worries arose about attracting less friendly strays who could harm the gentle deer. Recognizing the dog’s need for regular food, water, and shelter, the cemetery officials sought help from an animal rescue organization.
Wayside Waifs, a no-kill animal shelter, came to the rescue, acknowledging the dog’s vulnerable state. Using a humane trap, they successfully captured the dog, with Ella steadfastly standing by her friend’s side throughout the process. “Heading into winter, it’s important to acknowledge that deer are better equipped to survive in the wild, as it is their natural habitat. It wouldn’t be humane to leave a dog without regular food or water. Ensuring warm shelter is the best course of action,” explained Jennie Rinas of Wayside Waifs in an interview with KCTV 5.
As the dog’s name remains undisclosed, John Weilert, the president of the Elmwood Cemetery Society, affectionately nicknamed her ET, short for EpiTaph. Wayside Waifs is also considering naming her Elmwood. This shy and timid dog, estimated to be between 8 months to a year old, will require patient socialization as the rescue prepares her for a forever home.
While it saddens those involved to separate Ella and the dog, they find solace in the lessons their friendship has imparted. “Ella was standing right by the van when the dog departed, looking kind of forlorn,” shared John Weilert. Elmwood trustee Bruce Mathews expressed his sentiments, saying, “It breaks my heart that they have to be separated, but they must. Am I sorry they found each other? Absolutely not! I believe they became friends to teach us a lesson, however we each might interpret it.”
Bruce hopes that the fortunate family who adopts the dog will bring her back to visit Ella, stating, “The family who does adopt her is more than welcome to bring the pooch back out to visit with Ella anytime they want to.”