Dogs are cute. Baby deer are arguably even cuter. So what could be more heroic and life-affirming than a dog saving the life of a fawn?
Storm, an English golden retriever, was out for a walk Sunday morning along the Long Island Sound with fellow dog Sara and his owner, Mark Freeley.
Amid the lapping waves, a baby deer was in over its head out in the sound.
“Storm just plunged into the water and started swimming out to the fawn,” Freeley told CBS New York.
Freeley took video and provided narration of the occasion.
“Storm is trying to save this baby deer,” he begins. Then a note of doubt creeps into Freeley’s voice. “I think he’s trying to save him.”
There are a few worrisome seconds when it looks as if Storm might bite the very woodland creature he carried to safety. But the nips turn to nuzzles as Storm prods the deer, as if checking to see whether it’s alive.
The video ends there, but not the rescue.
Possibly spooked by Storm, the fawn ran back into the water.
“This time it went out even further,” Freeley told CBS.Freeley and another man, Frank Floridia, waded into the sound and used a rope to pull the fawn back to shore for good.
The fawn, reportedly covered in ticks and suffering an eye injury, is recuperating at an animal rescue organization.
Storm, meanwhile, is probably off fighting crime or solving math problems.
Clearly, he is a hero.
“Good boy, Storm!” a man’s voice says in the video, calling to a golden retriever paddling toward a brown lump bobbing in the water of Port Jefferson Harbor off Long Island. Taking it in his mouth, the dog hauls it toward the beach, a moment filmed by his owner on Sunday that has been seen by 5.2 million and counting on Facebook.
The lump was a fawn, which the dog dragged onto the sand. There it lay, alive but barely moving.
Storm gently nudged the fawn’s belly. It scarcely responded. He nuzzled it again. Nothing. He pawed at its tiny hooves. Then the video ended.
The video footage has launched Storm to sudden social media stardom and sent him on a tour of morning TV talk shows.
Banish any thought that the dog, a 6-year-old English golden retriever owned by Mark Freeley, a personal injury lawyer from East Setauket, N.Y., might have simply been following his instinct to retrieve.