White Deer Twins on the Riverwalk

White Deer Twins on the Riverwalk
These rare white deer twins were born this summer and have found a safe home at Dan Daniel Park and on the Riverwalk
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My name is David Hoffman. I teach English and journalism at Averett University, but I have two side interests - writing and photography. I also enjoy walking daily with my English setter, Sadie, and my wife, Elizabeth, on the Danville, Virginia, Riverwalk. As a novice to studying nature, I am fascinated by the slightest facets of the great outdoors, but most of my pictures are of birds - I don't know a lot about them, but I am learning more and enjoying taking pictures of them daily. I also take pictures of plants, other animals, and insects. All pictures posted for each day were taken on the day of my blog entry.

Leave a comment if you have the time or e-mail me at dhoffman@averett.edu


Thursday, April 1, 2010



(APRIL 1, 2010) Today I thought I'd write about the very unique creatures I saw on the Riverwalk this morning as Sadie, Elizabeth and I ventured forth. After writing about the "very strange" creatures we saw, I would end the piece with APRIL FOOLS. But, I decided not to do that.

I have already been fooled once. While walking past a field where some geese had gathered, Elizabeth pointed to the far end of the field and said, "Look, a large buck." I turned my head, and squinted - I couldn't see a thing but the geese. "APRIL FOOLS," she said.

Some things I was going to write about were the unicorns we saw prancing around in the field and, of course, the hippos wallowing around in the river, along with the alligators. Then, of course, I would have commented on the lions and tigers watching us as we walked by, hungrily licking their chops.

But I knew that the unicorns would have given away the credibility of the story before I even got started ... So, I decided to comment on something that we did see.

As we got out of the car this morning, we noticed a man sitting on a bench near the walk. He looked tired and disheveled and old. He smiled as we walked towards him. Sadie wanted to jump up on him in her usual friendly way, but I kept her close since the man looked a bit frail. I spoke to him as I started to pass by, and he spoke back.

He said, "Hi, excuse me, but isn't that Sadie?"

I said, "Yes, this is Sadie. How did you know?"

He said, "I recognized her from what some others have told me on the trail. She is famous, you know."

I said, in a proud way, "Well, I don't know about that, but we are here everyday."

The old frail man said, "May I ask a favor?"

I thought, "Uh-oh. He's going to ask for money," but I said, "Sure."

He paused a moment and then looked up at me with his sad eyes and said, "I used to have an English setter that looked just like your Sadie. One day, while I was out walking my dog, someone broke into my house and stole all my money and completely wiped me out - I had nothing, but my English setter. I had no insurance to cover my loss, so I had absolutely nothing, and that is why I look as I do, because I lost my job shortly after that. By the way, my dog's name was Sadie, too."

I kind of inched away as he kept talking, thinking, "I really need to get on with my walk," but I stood and listened.

I did hurry him on, since I didn't know how long his story was, and said, "What is the question you want to ask?"

He said, "Well - you see - Sadie, my dog, was all that I had. But shortly after I was robbed, Sadie ran away. I couldn't find her at all. So, the question I wanted to ask you is . . . well . . . uh...."

I said, "What is it you want to ask?"

After another pause he asked his question, "I was wondering if I could have your dog since I have nothing?"

I was shocked. Sadie and I had bonded - I had had her for four years - she was, like, part of the family. My instinctive reaction was, "Heck no, you can't have my dog!"

However, he looked so pitiful there, and I thought about how I have so much and he has so little. He could be someone's father. In fact, as I looked at him, he looked a lot like how my father looked. So, instead of immediately saying, "Heck, no," I asked him a question: "How would you take care of a dog if you had one?"

He said, "I am living with my brother and his wife. They have a large back yard, and my brother makes a good living. Sadie would be well taken care of."

I paused a moment, looked again into the sad eyes of this old man, and handed him the leash of my wonderful dog. APRIL FOOLS.

It was another beautiful day on the Riverwalk.

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