For the next week or so, Foots tended to the 4-week-old fawn carefully, feeding him every three hours and growing increasingly protective of the orphaned animal.
That all ended when officials with Australia's Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR) showed up on Foots' doorstep.
"The game officers came about a week later and seized the animal stating it was illegal to take animals from the wild and that he would face heavy charges and the deer would be killed," Ahern said.
Rudolph was whisked away to his death, and Foots jumped into action. He contacted Edgar's Mission, a sanctuary for abused and abandoned farm animals, to see if they could help.
"Despite being legally allowed to kill the animals the gaming officers sought a court order to kill the animal," Ahern explained. "This actually gave a window of opportunity to intervene."
Yet when Ahern reached out and offered to take in the deer, on behalf of Jirrahlinga Koala and Wildlife Sanctuary, she received an odd answer.
"They advised I could do that, but they would still go through with the court case and still call for the deer to be killed," she said.
"I questioned why they would do that when it would cost them nothing and it would be seen as an act of goodwill to allow the animal to live out his days in peace," Ahern said. "I further added there would be a great public benefit for the deer going to the sanctuary in that people would get to see this rarely seen animal and learn about them."
Yet the DEDJTR, for whatever reason, was determined to kill the infant deer. On Friday, the department won a court order allowing it to execute the young animal, arguing that Rudolph was a threat to public safety.
Now, Ahern and Foots - and their growing team of supporters - are fighting to save the innocent fawn from certain death.