‘Elderly for her species’: Catching up with internet sensation Dillie the deer, now 17

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CANAL FULTON, Ohio (WJW) — It’s been years since we’ve checked in with Dillie the deer, a local pet who became an international sensation! Dillie is 17 years old now.

“She is on a really restricted diet now because she has a lot of arthritis,” said Dr. Melanie Butera, a veterinarian at Elm Ridge Animal Hospital in Canal Fulton who took Dillie in.

Dillie’s lunchtime consists of hay, lots of fruit, and one piece of pizza.

“She can’t have the spaghetti and the carbs like she used to. She eats a lot of hay now,” said Butera.

 According to Butera, Dillie is a different deer than the domestic diva who became an internet sensation.

“She is very elderly for her species. The world record that I know is 22 years old for a deer. She has elderly issues like arthritis and her blindness is much worse,” said Butera.

It was back in 2004 that Butera took in the three-day-old blind, dying fawn after her mother refused her.

Dillie went on to live in Butera’s home and become part of the family, even getting a bedroom of her own.

“She doesn’t sleep on her bed like she used to. I have so many pictures of her lounging on that bed,” said Butera.

It is an image that captivated the world via the internet. Millions of people tuned into a live stream of Dillie’s bedroom, known as the Dillie Cam.

“Talking to people who watch her, they just really find peace in her,” said Butera.

Dillie’s popularity inspired Melanie to write a book about Dillie, which was published by Regan Arts.

Melanie also wrote a children’s book about Dillie called “The Gift.” It is something that strengthened her during her battle with cancer.

“I was told I had six months to live back in 2012,” said Butera.

Butera is in remission now for five years after battling stage 4 endometrial cancer.

She credits her husband Steve, along with Dillie and her legions of fans, for giving her strength.

“When you go through something like that, every single day is a gift. You learn to appreciate the journey and the stops along the way and the quirky characters you meet,” said Butera.

While Dillie Cam is no longer streamed live, fans can still watch Facebook lives with Dillie in the morning and night.

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