A male voice can be heard in the video saying “Good boy, Storm!” A golden retriever is seen paddling toward a deer bobbing the waters of Port Jefferson Harbor off Long Island. The dog then hauls the little deer back to the beach. This moment, captured on video by the owner has been viewed 5.2 million times on Facabook.
The fawn, when it was dragged out of the water, was alive but hardly moved. Storm nudged the fawn’s belly but it would barely respond.
After the video took the internet by “storm”, the golden retriever has been on a number of morning TV talk shows. Storm was not following his natural instinct to retrieve, neither was he hungry. “I was there, and if anybody knows Storm, they know that’s not in his heart. He is the most gentle, gracious dog you ever want to meet,” said owner, Mark Freeley.
Storm is seen licking the fawn’s jugular. “It was so touching. It showed he really had a care and was worried about the fawn,” said Freeley.
Freeley left to get the fawn some help from the Strong Island Animal Rescue League. When he returned, the fawn had managed to get back on its feet. Unfortunately, it got spooked by seeing two men and two dogs and ran toward the water. “They are animals of flight; they are going to take off wherever they can go. In a yard, they will smash through a wooden fence,” said Frank Floridia who runs Strong Island Animal Rescue League.
This time, Frank Floridia had to retrieve the fawn. He swam out and grabbed the deer after Storm failed to get it back.
The deer seemed to be around three months old had unexplained wounds on its head and one closed eye. Erica Kutzing, Floridia’s partner, drove the fawn to Save the Animals Rescue Foundation in Middle Island, N.Y. The fawn was in a stable condition and was drinking baby goat formula.
A number of animals that are brought to the animals rescue are because of dogs, but not because of their heroic attempts. “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,” said Ketcham.
The fawn will be returned to the wild but is currently recovering from a number of ailments like subcutaneous emphysema, a condition in which air bubbles are trapped under the skin. Trauma can be the cause of this illness.
“Officially this was a wonderful thing that the dog saved the deer. I think, if he was left to his own devices, the deer would not survive,” said Ketcham.