PORT JEFFERSON, NY — Losing faith in the possibility of love and peace between beasts in this increasingly cruel, suspicious world? Look no further than an (almost painfully uplifting) cellphone video posted to Facebook over the weekend by local attorney and volunteer animal rescuer Mark Freeley, in which his English cream golden retriever Storm, who will hereafter be known as the world’s best dog, saves a baby deer from drowning in the Long Island Sound.
And our gentle hero doesn’t stop there. Once he’s dragged the fawn onto shore in Port Jefferson Harbor, Storm can be seen licking, nuzzling and pawing the water-logged babe, desperate for signs of life.
It just doesn’t get any sweeter than this:
Freeley later told CBS that Storm acted entirely on his own. “Storm just plunged into the water and started swimming out to the fawn, grabbed it by the neck, and started swimming to shore,” he said.
Here’s another video of the deer sitting up and blinking her big doe eyes after Storm’s daring save:
But this isn’t purely a tale of dog-on-deer love. Turns out a few exemplary Homo sapiens also lent a hand after Storm did his thing Sunday morning.
According to local animal rescue group Strong Island Animal Rescue League, Freeley gave the group a call Sunday and asked them to check on the deer. Together with Freeley, two responding rescuers made the half-hour hike back to the spot where Storm originally rescued the fawn — only to discover it had somehow ended up back in the water.
“She was confused,” Erica Kutzing, one of the rescuers, said of the deer. “I think she was completely out of it.”
The three of them then staged a second, equally dramatic rescue, likewise documented on Facebook:
The deer is now recovering in a “quiet room” at a local rescue facility, according to the Strong Island Animal Rescue League. “She will receive fluids, feedings, and when old enough she will be released back into the wild. She has a few superficial wounds from her exciting day but will survive.”
You can help support Strong Island’s ongoing animal rescue efforts here.
Kutzing, the group’s co-founder, told Patch in a phone interview Monday that Storm treated the fawn “almost like a mother would treat her puppy. They grab them by the neck and carry them to a safe place.”
But the fact that the fawn wasn’t actually Storm’s puppy — and that Storm treated it like a puppy anyway — points to another less obvious, more inspiring instinct within the retriever, Kutzing said.
“I think we could all learn something from Storm,” the local rescuer said. “If we just learn to treat each other nicely and look out for each other, despite our differences, the world would be a better place.”
Images via Mark Freeley/Facebook
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Originally published July 17, 2017.