What’s the weirdest pet you ever remember anyone having? When I was a kid, a local veterinarian’s wife adopted a pot-bellied pig.
I remember my eyes widening in shock when I first saw the bristly, squashed-looking animal waddling through their yard. Another time, I encountered a woman who kept a sugar glider perched on her shoulder.
The tiny marsupial skittered this way and that, its ink-black eyes peering everywhere. But I have to say that neither of those animals seems quite as strange as the pet owned by the Funderburk family of South Carolina.
The story started in June 2016. According to the Independent Mail, an individual found a nearly newborn fawn by the side of the road.
His mother had perished, killed by a speeding car. When the Funderburks found out about the fawn, they made a decision: They would adopt the little deer and raise it as a pet.
“We had never raised a deer, so we immediately went to a local taxidermist who had raised many,” Kena Lucas Funderburk wrote on Facebook. “It took 18 hours of constant cuddling and working with him to get him to take a bottle.
“We really didn’t think he’d make it! After about 12 hours of holding him, he finally started suckling on my chest, neck and ears, then eventually took a bottle.”
But make it he did, and the family eventually named him George. Kaleb and Laney, the youngest Funderburks, came to love George, as did their dog.
As he swelled in size, they had to make a difficult decision. Rather than try to keep George confined, they would release him into the wild.
“We struggled with how we looked at his life, it was a debate of quality vs. quantity,” Kena said. “We decided it would have been inhumane to have him in a pen and keep him from running free.”
George took well to living wild and would return to the Funderburks’ house after months away. Each time he has returned, he’s been completely healthy.
There’s just one problem: The Funderburks live in a rural area and deer season has begun.
According to WESH, Kena posted a plea on Facebook, begging, “Local hunters, please don’t shoot the seven point with the yellow tape around his antlers if you see him. It’s George!
“We usually mark him with bright orange paint and the two hunt clubs around us have been good about looking out for him. They get new pictures each time he comes home.”
So far, the plea seems to have work, although a few miscreants have posted Photoshopped pictures of a dead George shot by bullets or hit by a truck. Kena confirmed on Facebook that George is currently alive and well.
“George’s story has been told by numerous worldwide, national and local media outlets and more is to come tomorrow! Not to mention folks all over the world have fallen in love with him and his story!”
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