He looked out the window, waiting to see her face. It had been a long while and he worried if she was even still alive.
Then he spotted a blotch of moving brown amongst the green. A bulbous nose poked out first. Then, out of the shadows, he saw something else.
Lithuanian farmer, Erikas Plucas, loved his plot of land. It was perfect for growing, but it was also right up against the forest, so he could enjoy everything nature had to offer.
While walking back home one day, he noticed a lump of fur near his gate. The lump was moving slightly.
Erikas slowly walked towards the animal. A large head, floppy ears, and black eyes sat in a shivering pile. It was a baby moose – no more than a couple of weeks old.
Aside from being thin and freezing, he noticed something else. Its fur was caked with dirt, flies crawled over its body … and the mother was nowhere in sight.
The farm reached out, but the animal squealed in fear. The poor thing was too weak to even run away.
He immediately picked up the phone and called his friends for advice on how to save it. Their response, however, was not only shocking but quite cruel.
Everyone said he should just tell a hunter to come to take care of it. But Erikas knew there would be only one outcome – they would shoot it.
Determined to nurse the creature back to health, he bottled up some milk. Hunger outweighed its fear, and it guzzled back that and every bottle he brought every 4 hours.
He grinned and said, “I’m going to call you Emma.” The next step was to move her into the barn where she could rest and be warm.
As she lay down on the soft straw, he covered her with a blanket and tried to walk out. That’s when he heard her cry out to him.
Not only did Erikas end up sleeping in the barn for many nights, but she wouldn’t venture into the forest without him.
Eventually, she would wander off on her own but always come back to him. The farmer was determined to get her back into the wild again, but there was one final problem. And it was a big one.
There were hunters everywhere. Even though he had tried his best to keep her from getting too comfortable with humans, she just wasn’t cautious enough to remain safe.
The farmer decided to do something no one would have imagined. He called all the hunters in the area to his place for a meeting.
The men sat on his porch and watched the calf as it grazed and played.
He explained what had happened and asked them not to hunt her – to give her a chance at life. And, while he had braced himself for some serious opposition, something magical happened.
Every single hunter promised not to shoot her. Some said they would avoid moose altogether, and a few promised to retire their rifles forever.
It was unbelievable. So, the chance at a new life, he held back the tears and waited for the day she would step into the forest and never come back – it never came.
Even though Emma had finally decided to live in the forest, she would still visit her “dad” on a daily basis.
Sometimes she would come over to nuzzle him. Other days it would just be a peek through the leaves. On one visit, he saw her belly had got bigger.
After a few months, little wobbly legs wandered the outskirts of his property. He was now a grandpa.
He sat on the back lawn with a coffee and watched them walk alongside their mother. Even though every part of him wants to run up and hug then, he remembers something very important…
They are safer if they stay wild – and wary of humans. There are days where he can give her treats and go swimming together.
Those are special days and magical memories he will always treasure. His story didn’t impact only his life, after he posted the “family photos” online, the response was amazing.
“The Moose Named Emma” became a trigger for another wave and reminders how important our animal friends are.
They are not just lumps of meat to throw on a barbeque. They can be dangerous, wild, and mysterious, but they are all beautiful. For Erikas, there is one special kind of beauty…
“I’m her world now and she is mine,” Erikas said. “Sometimes I wonder was it me who saved her, or is it the other way around?”
He still sits on the back porch, hoping to get a glance of her, remembering back on that cold lump of fur he had first stumbled upon.