CANAL FULTON, Ohio - Dillie was near death when Canal Fulton, Ohio veterinarian Melanie Butera and her husband found her.
"She was comatose," said Melanie Butera, Dillie's "mom." "Her body temperature didn't even register on the thermometer."
Instead of letting her go, they nursed her back to health and have made her part of their family for the past nine years – literally.
"She's just a loving animal," Butera said.
"She's my girl," said Steve Heathman, Butera's husband, who calls himself Dillie's "dad."
The doe has her very own bedroom and you can watch her 24 hours a day online in her natural indoor habitat.
A message board in Dillie’s room changes daily. Monday’s note read, “5” of snow. I’m eating bananas in bed.” Below that is an 8x10 photo of Kenny the goat on Dillie’s nightstand. Kenny, who resides on a farm in Florida, is Dillie's "boyfriend."
Dillie is a pretty active deer. We watched her for quite some time Monday morning. Her bed sheets were changed, she took off her owner’s hat and just sat around in bed on this blustery spring day.
"She does the same things I do everyday, helps me clean the house, make the beds," Heathman said.
Dillie even had some company: Lady, a standard poodle, and Spaz and Neffie, her cat friends.
The family said Dillie plays on five acres of yard and woods, but when in the house, she prefers to lounge on her bed. She’s free to come and go inside and outside as she pleases and is never confined.
“She is housebroken and very gentle. She is never allowed to mix with wild deer and it would be illegal for her ever to go out in the wild,” Butera said.
"We don't look at her like a deer," Heathman said. "I look at her more like an animal, a dog, cat, she's just a real nice girl."
The family recognizes this is a rarity, noting, “There is no other deer that we would ever recommend be kept as a pet like this. In other words, don't try this at home.”
Butera self-published a book about her adventures of and love for the doe titled “Dillie the Deer: Love on Hooves." It can be purchased on Dillie's website, dilliedeer.com . For Dillie fanatics, books may be ordered "scribbled" and "nibbled," which includes Butera's autograph and the corner of a page devoured by the doe.
"Dillie the Deer" cam has more than 1.1 million views.
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