By Lucy Bryant via SWNS
A teenage girl opened her home last Christmas to an abandoned baby deer - she festively named Comet.
Jasmine Peters, 16, has always been fascinated by deer, so when her stepdad, Shawn Ireland, 53, arrived home with a fawn on Christmas Day 2020, she couldn’t believe her eyes.
Found abandoned by its mother, Jasmine took the fallow deer - thought to be newborn - under her wing, and affectionately named him after one of Santa's reindeer.
The family’s farm became the perfect home for Comet who was initially raised in the house before he found the wooden flooring too slippery - just like Bambi on ice.
Now housed outside, Comet, one, is still partially bottle-fed by adoptive mum Jasmine, but also loves when he gets his favorite snack - apples.
The duo has a wonderful relationship, and Comet jumps excitedly around his enclosure when Jasmine is nearby and loves running around the garden when he’s let out to play.
Jasmine, a high-school student, from Auckland, New Zealand, said: “Comet is like a real-life Bambi - he prances, he eats a lot and he’s just the cuddliest animal I’ve ever had.
“He definitely jumps and prances a lot, especially when I go out to see him he starts getting excited and makes a squeaking noise.
“He’s a very special animal.
"He is just like a real-life Bambi - I love him so much."
Comet was brought home to the Peters’ family home on Christmas Day 2020, after being found in the wild - abandoned by his mother.
Jasmine’s stepdad knew how much the teen loved animals, so saw it as the perfect opportunity to surprise his step-daughter with "the best Christmas present she could ask for."
“I was screaming in excitement when I saw him - I couldn’t stop shaking,” Jasmine said.
“When he first arrived he was quite scared, so my stepdad had put him in a pet crate with blankets around it to make him feel secure.
“We have wood floors so when he got excited inside he’d skid around everywhere.
“We kept him inside for about a month until he felt safer with us, but you could tell he wanted to be outside so we made a big enclosure on the farm.”
The family has a number of other pet animals - including a corgi named after Queen Elizabeth - which Comet has become friends with at his new home.
Although in his own enclosure, he often plays with the family's dogs and loves when Jasmine gets him to chase his red space hopper.
“He’s like a real-life Bambi - he jumps around and gets all excited - he’s just amazing,” Jasmine said.
“The bond I have with Comet is very special because over the past year I’ve struggled with an eating disorder and he’s very affectionate and has really been there for me.
“Whenever I feel anxious I’ll go down there and he’s always there to cuddle.
“I definitely think he has helped me get better because I know that I have to be around to take care of him because he relies on me.”
Jasmine has bottle-fed Comet since the day he came home but has now started to introduce solid foods into his diet just as his mother would encourage in the wild.
“He loves apples - but I also feed him whole kernel maize, griselinia branches, grass - because fallow deer are mainly pastural eaters - hay, and then pellets to top up if he needs it,” Jasmine said.
Comet currently comes up to Jasmine’s mid-thigh, and will likely grow to the height of her waist - just below a meter, which is the average for a male fallow deer.
The family made the decision to castrate Comet, so he won’t grow antlers or become aggressive during breeding season.
“It’s a lot of commitment to look after him, but I want to give him the best life possible,” Jasmine said.
“They’re the smartest animals - their senses are incredible.
“I’ve always been fascinated by them and have made sure I know how his life would have been in the wild so I can look after him properly now I’m his mum.”
Comet will eventually have a large section of the family’s paddock to himself so he has plenty of room to graze when he is fully grown.
Family and friends wanted Jasmine to name him Bambi or Rudolph - but she decided on the slightly less obvious name for her beloved pet.
“I thought about calling him Bambi - but I thought it seemed a bit basic,” Jasmine said.
“So I went with Comet instead, one of the more obscure Santa’s reindeer.
“I hope I can rescue more one day.”
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