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Marj McKenzie Davis

Founder of Fawn Rescue dares to dream
Marj McKenzie Davis
Marj McKenzie Davis.Photo by Matt Wolfe

By Christine Cohen

Marj Davis started Fawn Rescue of Sonoma County at the age of 75. She started with a fawn that a neighbor found. Little was known about the care of fawns. No doe milk was readily available. Davis tried goat milk as the closest substitute. The fawn responded poorly to the milk, her eyes growing dull.

In her research, Davis discovered that California’s Department of Fish and Game had a recipe for doe milk. Next, she found a company that made squirrel milk, and bingo: Yes, the company could make doe milk!

When Davis fed the fawn the newly manufactured doe milk, a spark came back into the fawn’s eyes, and she thrived.

During her research, Davis let Fish and Game know that she would like to care for orphaned, sick, or injured fawns. After a review of the property and Davis’s expertise, Fish and Game brought out five fawns, all at once. Davis had a job to do.

She successfully worked to save fawns and established Wildlife Fawn Rescue in Kenwood, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. During fawn season (April to September), Fawn Rescue’s many volunteers throughout Sonoma County monitor or treat over 100 fawns per year.

Davis was born in November 1920 in Sterling, Illinois. At the age of 3 months, the family relocated to Pennsylvania, where Davis grew up. She has two children: Joe, who was born in 1940, and Janet, who was born in 1944. Joe resides in Reno and enjoys traveling. Janet lives on an island in Tennessee and, following in her mother’s footsteps, has created a sanctuary for monarch butterflies and hummingbirds (among many other pursuits).

Ultimately, Davis and her family moved to southern California. The story of her work with deer began after moving to Kenwood with her second husband, Rudy. Davis volunteered for Sonoma Wildlife Rescue, where she learned there was no rescue program for deer and their fawns. She realized there was a real need for someone to step in.

Davis dedicated herself to saving fawns until she retired at 95. She continues to advise and help when needed. She is the author of several books and always promotes animal and wildlife welfare. Davis lives by a philosophy that has proven to be true: “Dare to dream.”