Kate & Pippin: The story of an unlikely pair

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First aired on The Current (28/2/12)


It's a love story as unlikely as that of Beauty and the Beast. When a young fawn is abandoned by her mother, things look bleak. But thanks to the big heart of a Great Dane, the fawn found a new family. That's the story of the Springetts, their dog, Kate, and her new playmate, Pippin the fawn.

Pippin first appeared in the Springetts' life as a baby fawn accompanying her mother. While the sighting was unusual, the Springetts thought nothing of it until they heard strange crying. "It was horrendous," Isobel Springett told The Current host Anna Maria Tremonti. "We didn't really know what it was at first." When they realized it was the fawn -- which, for unknown reasons, was left behind by her mother -- the Springetts did what they could to make sure Pippin was fed and safe. 

They didn't expect Kate to get involved, but the bond between deer and dog was immediate. When Kate and Pippin first met, "the look on [Kate's] face was complete and utter pleasure," Springett said. "The fawn tucked into her back leg as she was laying there, hid her little face and [Kate] turned around, licked her and that was that."

Kate quickly became the fawn's protector and constant companion, but the Springetts were keen to make sure Pippin didn't become too domesticated. "We tried really hard to let her be a deer," Springett explained. "So from a young age, she was able to integrate into the herd." They let Pippin out, and she'd go off into the woods to feed or sleep in the bush. But she always came back for a treat and to play with Kate, even as she became an adult deer and a mother herself.

After all these years, their relationship still stuns Springett. "The way the hug their necks and lick each other, and the way the just genuinely seem to be so happy to see each other," she said. "It amazes me every time."

Springett has shared Kate and Pippin's bond through a website, photos and videos and the story has become an internet sensation. Now, it'salso a book, Kate and Pippin: An Unlikely Love Story. Springett gets emails from people around the world who have fallen in love with these unlikely companions.

But why are people so drawn to this pair? Springett says the answer is obvious.

"It's a hard old world but then you look at that and think, there's hope after all," she said. "If they can get along, why can't people?"

Eating Dirt.jpgKate & Pippin: An Unlikely Love Story
by Martin Springett

Buy this book at:

From the publisher:

"The story of Kate's and Pippin's highly unconventional but loving relationship is charmingly chronicled by Martin Springett, Isobel's brother, who is an award-winning illustrator and author. Featuring Isobel's beautiful photography, Kate and Pippin is sure to be a cherished classic for young and old alike."

Read more at Kate and Pippin.