This past Sunday, a dog likely to be called “good boy” for the rest of his life, heroically jumped into the water after he saw a baby deer drowning not far from the shore. The dog, Storm, was out for a walk along Port Jefferson Harbor with his human Mark Freeley when the pair spotted the deer.
“Storm just plunged into the water and started swimming out to the fawn, grabbed it by the neck, and started swimming to shore,” Freeley told CBS.
Though he had likely never rescued anyone before, Storm knew exactly what the deer needed and managed to bring the fawn back safely. The baby deer was disoriented and shaky, barely able to get herself up and out of the shallow water once she was placed down, at which point she attempted a short escape onto dry land.
Storm wasn’t giving her up that easily, though. As the fawn made her way up the shore, Storm was right on her tail and laid down with her as soon as she collapsed. She can be seen breathing strenuously as Storm prods and licks her, willing her to live. Though that’s where the video ends, that’s not where the story ends.
Freeley made a call to a local rescue group, Strong Island Animal Rescue League, who sent out volunteers Frankie Floridia and Erica Kutzing to pick up the deer. Parking near the harbor proved to be very difficult, so Frankie jumped out of the car from the nearest point while she looked for a place to park and Frankie followed Mark to where the deer was left. It was a long 25 minute walk, and when Erica called Frankie for an update about the deer, things were not looking good.
“Erica called Frankie for an update while driving and his panic-stricken voice yelled out, ‘She’s back in the water! She’s too far out! She’s drowning! I’m going in!'” the rescue group wrote on Facebook. “Frankie hung up the phone.”
This time, Frankie the human jumped in to save the deer and was just coming out of the water when Erica ran up. She was able to park 1.25 miles away from where the deer was only because a friendly Belle Terre constable allowed her to. As soon as she approached, Frankie had blown his knee out during his pursuit of the deer and Erica had to take over the deer’s handling while he rested for a moment. They then began the long trek back to the car.
Despite tons of kicking and flailing from the frightened baby deer, Erica held her tight and they made it back to the car, where they then transported her to STAR Foundation. The organization specializes in wildlife rescue and rehabilitation and have been keeping the baby in a pack and play while she rests and receive fluids and feedings. She has some superficial wounds from her “exciting day” but is expected to be just fine and will be released back into the wild when she’s healthy and older.
“It was an amazing group effort today,” the Strong Island Animal Rescue League wrote. “Thank you Mark, Storm, Frankie, Erica and everyone at STAR who all played an amazing part in saving a life today.”
The baby deer would not be alive if it weren’t for every single being involved in her rescue, which all originated with Storm the dog, and it’s amazing that such a cross-species rescue was made possible by such caring creatures. Watch the video below to see the full rescue.