When Mark Freeley decided to take his English golden retriever, Storm, and his other dog, Sarah, out for a casual Sunday stroll along the beach last weekend, he had no idea that the carefree walk would be abruptly interrupted by a deer in distress. The fawn had somehow found its way into the waters of the Long Island Sound, and the combination of the fawn’s long, spindly legs and weak muscles made it clear that time would soon run out for her if something wasn’t done.
Little did the struggling fawn know that help was on the way in the form of a shaggy, four-legged, golden-haired hero named Storm. He must have seen the small deer struggling to stay afloat from the beach, and what the brave dog did next even shocked his owner.
“Storm just plunged into the water and started swimming out to the fawn, grabbed it by the neck, and started swimming to shore,” Mark Freeley told CBS News.
In a video Freeley took of the rescue, he can be heard cheering on Storm off-camera with, “Good boy, Storm! Bring him in!” while the fluffy canine gently held the deer by the neck with his teeth and doggy-paddled his way back to the shore.
But what happened after that was really special. Storm lay down next to the exhausted little deer, gently nudging it with his paws and nose to make sure the fawn was okay.
But, while Storm showed true heroism, he wouldn’t be the only one performing a rescue in the Long Island Sound that day—in fact, he wouldn’t be the only one rescuing the same fawn from the Long Island Sound.
For whatever reason, after Storm rescued the fawn, the fawn decided to head back into the water. Maybe it was scared from the whole experience and desperate to escape from its fluffy rescuer, but whatever the case, the fawn went back into the Long Island Sound, except this time it went much further out than before.
But, thankfully, Frank Floridia of the Strong Island Animal Rescue League had arrived at the scene after Freeley made a call for backup. Both Freeley and Floridia entered the water with a rope, hoping to secure the deer and pull it back to shore. Floridia’s partner, Erica Kutzing, assisted on shore, running about a mile across land to assist in the rescue.
In the end, Floridia was able to pull the fawn back ashore, where Kutzing was waiting to secure her in a vehicle to bring her to a vet for care. The swim to catch the fawn lasted nearly 10 minutes, and Floridia said he blew his knee out during the process, but the group was able to work together and save the deer a second (and final) time.
Now, the fawn is being cared for, receiving treatment for ticks and an eye injury with expectations of a full recovery before being released back into the wild. It’s likely that the small deer wouldn’t have made it without Storm’s intervention for the first rescue. But, Storm’s efforts and those of the three other rescuers saved the deer’s life not once, but twice, giving what could have easily been a tragic story a very happy ending.