Is This Golden Retriever Really A “Hero” For Saving A Drowning Deer?

on August 1, 2017
Posted in Dogs

An English golden retriever has become a worldwide celebrity after video surfaced of him rescuing a baby deer from Port Jefferson Harbor, New York.

According to CBS New York, personal injury lawyer Mark Freeley was walking his two dogs on Sunday, July 16 when the fawn was spotted flailing for its life in the Long Island Sound. One of the dogs, 6-year-old Storm, immediately darted into the water and swam to the fawn, latching its jaws around the infant’s neck.

Storm dragged the fawn onto the sand but almost as soon as the two animals reached land, the clearly terrified fawn found its legs and ran. The Facebook video posted by Freeley shows the fawn falling limp after running for about two seconds, with Storm still at its side.

Storm prods the fawn’s neck and belly as Freeley, the owner of several rescue dogs, assures his pet, “She’s okay, she’s okay.”

Freeley says that after he stopped filming on his phone, he called the Strong Island Animal Rescue League, which sent two staff members. Frank Floridia, who heads the rescue organization, approached the fawn but one look at the three men and two dogs sent it bounding back towards the water.

“This time it went out even further,” Freeley told CBS New York. Approximately 250 feet, actually.

He and Floridia chased after the fawn and about eight minutes later, were able to get a hold of it with the help of a rope. Floridia’s partner, Erica Kutzing, said the fawn was covered in ticks and appeared to have an injured eye.

The New York Times reports that the fawn was discovered to be about 3 months and had suffered numerous unexplained wounds on its head.

Kutzing drove the fawn to the Save the Animals Rescue Foundation in Middle Island, NY, where it was reported to be in stable condition three days later. Storm has since achieved mass praise in the form of mainstream news coverage, gifts sent by rescue organizations, and countless poems, paintings and appreciative messages from admirers.

But Lori Ketcham, director of Save the Animals, isn’t so sure Storm was acting “heroic” in rescuing the fawn. She told the New York Times that many fawns that are brought to her organization were injured by dogs.

“I think the dog did a very good thing, but I’m very realistic about what dogs do — dogs tend to chew these little deer up,” Ketcham explained.

The inference that Storm may have viewed the fawn as prey is supported by Freeley’s admittance that the dog does not play fetch; yet he apparently knew a lot was on the line when he spotted the floundering victim.

Save the Animals isn’t sure how the fawn got into the water but staff suspect it fell off a cliff; while others theorize it was in fact chased there by a dog. The Times suggested that Storm was merely obeying his natural instinct to “retrieve” when he ran into the Long Island Sound.

While it’s not clear if Storm actually intended to save the deer, Kutzing believes the reason behind the action aren’t important “as long as the ending is happy.”

The fawn was treated with antibiotics for at least one ailment and is expected to make a full recovery.

Read also: 10 Most Common Animal Attacks on Pets

Our Expert

Dr. Janice Huntingford
Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for over 30 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan

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