They say a dog is a man’s best friend, but what about a deer?
John Slater, of Wiltshire, England, was driving along a hill when he thought he spotted a dead deer lying in a pool of blood.
When he pulled up to investigate, he discovered that the months-old muntjac deer had been hit by a car, but was alive and making squeaking noises.
Slater, a 63-year-old widower, collected the fawn from the ground and put her into his van. He then brought her home, where he nursed her back to health.
"It was luck — sheer luck — that I heard that tiny little squeak,” Slater told SWNS. “I'm so glad I went back."
Slater stocked up on books to educate himself on how to nurture the animal.
“Strawberry,” now 3 years old, is healthy and fits right in with Slater’s two dogs, Cola and Kilo, a pony and a retired racing pigeon.
Slater said Strawberry, who is smaller than a Labrador, uses the doggy door at his Malmesbury home and watches TV with him.
“If I'm sitting at the kitchen table watching telly, she will chew my elbow until I start stroking her,” he said.
He said his deer makes herself at home in his garden, noshing on fresh peaches, rose petals, dandelions, and of course, strawberries. He even has a shed for her to sleep in when the weather is warm.
In the winter, she sleeps in the house.
"I wouldn't take her out anywhere else because if she escaped I'd never get her back,” he said.
Also in the home is Slater's 24-year-old son Tom, who accepts his dad’s love for animals.
Slater said he would never eat Strawberry and his four grandchildren adore her.
"I wish if you hit an animal you had to stop and check it was dead,” he said. “If I could afford it and I had more money and more land, I'd have a menagerie.”