Duluth Family’s Dog, Wild Deer Become Unlikely Furry Friends

Frank, a year-and-a-half-old Black Labrador, and a wandering doe have regular morning playdates.

DULUTH, Minn.- One family’s dog in Duluth is proving that man may not be dog’s only best friend — a deer has taken that spot.

In a video recorded from the Miller house’s window, a black lab and a doe carefully watch each other, each rearing to go.

But this was not a vicious hunting or attack video. The dog and the deer began playing.

“So I thought at first he was kinda chasing it so I ran out there quick,” Joe Miller said, “and kinda came to find out the deer was chasing him.”

Frank, Miller’s year-and-a-half-old Black Labrador, met his new best friend — no matter the species.

“Over the course of the summer, handful of different times I’d get up in the morning I’d let them out,” said Miller, “and I was getting ready for work.”

“And I’d look back and here he’d be playing tag with that deer over there,” he said.

Deer are a normal sight in the area, wandering in from the tall grass and forest surrounding Miller’s house on McQuade Road.

But this doe in particular, playing a mix of hide-and-seek and tag, also became Frank’s workout buddy. “I just figured he found a good partner, somebody that can wear him out in the morning,” said Miller.

He said while he’s seen animals come and go — once a playful coyote had a brief encounter with one of his old dogs — none have ever bonded with his pets like this deer has.

“He’s a friendly dog,” Miller said.

While deer are not normally aggressive animals, wildlife experts say does can be protective when their fawn are nearby, typically in the late spring to early summer.

But this doe seemed pretty attached to the Miller’s young pup — sometimes even missing him when he left.

“Frank does come over and heels up quick, and she just stood there and looked at us like ‘hey, where you going?’ kind of thing,” Frank’s owner said.

Labs make good hunting and pointing dogs, according to Miller.

But Frank’s friendliness may make the little ball of energy a bit difficult to train when they go hunting together.

“I don’t think that this will actually go away once he gets better trained, but I don’t think it’s gonna help me in any way either,” Joe said with a chuckle.

Either way, he said he welcomes the doe to playdates, giving him a front row seat to Northland nature.

“I gotta let him out for his exercise in the morning and at the same time I kind of like the deer being out there so it’s really nice that they can coexist,” said Miller.

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