No matter how well we think we know our animals, they always seem to do something to surprise us.
We learn early on never to brag about our pets because that’s a sure way to get them to misbehave in front of any company.
If we say they absolutely will do something, they just might not. And vice versa.
For instance, Mark Freeley of Port Jefferson, Long Island, thought he understood his dogs’ behavior patterns.
But he had no idea one of them had the makings of a true-blue hero!
He was walking the two dogs along the harbor one sunny afternoon when his golden retriever, Storm, suddenly darted out into the shallow water.
Mark knew his dogs were full of energy and excitement, so he didn’t think much about Storm’s impulsive behavior.
After all, it was a pretty hot day. She probably just needed to cool down.
Then again, she was a retriever; she could have gone in to retrieve a stick out of the water.
Mark stopped and watched as Storm swam out to an object in the water, picked it up in her mouth and began to swim back.
Yep, she was a retriever all right.
It was a pretty large object, and Storm was having to struggle to get back to the bank.
Mark encouraged her, telling her she was a very good dog.
It wasn’t until she got back to the bank that he realized what a very good dog she was indeed.
The object Storm had swum out to retrieve hadn’t been a stick at all.
It was a spotted baby fawn!
As Mark watched in awe, Storm pulled the fawn onto the shore and carefully laid it in the sand. The deer was still alive, but Mark could tell she was in shock.
He had no idea how long the poor animal had been struggling to stay afloat in the harbor.
He was mystified at how Storm had seen the baby struggling when he had been looking in the same direction and hadn’t seen a thing out of the ordinary.
Storm stayed with the fawn while she was recovering.
Like a mother dog with her puppies, Storm kept gently nudging her every few minutes to make sure she was okay.
Meanwhile, Mark called Strong Island Rescue, a local animal organization, to help.
When the team got there, their arrival startled the already terrified fawn. With one leap it was away from Storm and back in the water.
This time, Mark kept Storm beside him while one of the rescue team went in the water after the baby.
He had hurt his knee trying to keep the fawn out of the water, but Frankie Floridia didn’t stop going.
Despite the pain, he quickly followed the fawn and gently scooped her up into his arms.
Frankie was smiling as he walked back to shore, the frightened baby held tightly in his arms.
He then handed her over to Erica Kutzing, a fellow worker from Strong Island Rescue, so she could dry her off in their van.
The poor thing was a little frightened at first, and understandably so.
But when they reached the Rescue’s van and once the baby was laid down on a towel, she stopped fighting and relaxed a bit.
They took the baby to a shelter in Port Jefferson where some minor wounds were treated. Then, they released her back in the area where she had been found.
She had a much better chance at survival there, with her mother, than being raised by humans.
We bet the next time Storm jumps into the water or tells Mark that he sees something that Mark can’t see…Mark will listen to her!
Good dog, Storm! You’re a credit to your breed and your species for caring so much about another animal.
We give you an honorary heroes badge for a job well done!