The Menagerie
by Lou Womack

As far back as I can remember we always had a menagerie of animals while living in Panama.  Before we moved to Gamboa we live in the Padros Apartment Building in Panama City.  Dad was working in the jungle helping to clear areas for the sea level canal which incidentally never came to fruition because of the breakout of  the Second World War.  When the crew found a baby deer with a broken leg, Dad brought it home and made a makeshift aluminum cast for its’ broken leg.  The poor little thing could not stand up on the tile floor of the apartment and would always be falling down into a spread eagle position, such as the one in the Bambi film where Bambi tries to iceskate and slips on the ice into that funny stance.  It’s not so funny though when its really happening  to a baby deer.  Mom and Dad came up with a solution though by cutting out rubber innertubing, criss-crossing some flaps in the shape of a cross  and strapping it onto its hoofed feet.
Now keeping a deer in an apartment is not the most convenient thing for a deer, to say nothing of the owner, so eventually the deer was given to the Animal Reserve at Fort Clayton.  Occasionally we would drive out  there to see the deer.  Jeep would always come to the fence and I would feed him cigarettes.  Can you believe that?  He loved them!  But the funniest thing was to see this full grown deer come to the fence when called by name and drink milk from a baby bottle.

February 5, 2000

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