The best news I’ve heard… all year
What do you do when you’re on holiday, and are awake and up at 5:00 am because you can’t sleep? Slap together a blog post! This is such a terrific story that I can’t help but want to share it.
In my part of the world, if there’s talk of interaction between deer and humans, it’s in the context of guns, hunting season, carcasses, and mounted deer heads. Not yesterday. Yesterday’s Lansing State Journal had these photos and this story about a group of people who restore a little of my faith in humanity. Compassion ruled the day in this case, and that’s news worth sharing.
DOE, FAWN SAVED FROM ICY RIVER
by Rachel Greco
Sometimes a random act of kindness can be a lifesaver. Over the weekend, a rescue on the frozen Grand River saved two lives — although neither of the distressed is likely to extend a “thank you” anytime soon.
Nathan Foote said the scene he and his wife Peg saw out the window of their Eaton Rapids’ home Saturday morning painted a bleak picture — two deer, a doe and a fawn, flailing after falling through the iced-over river behind their house.
“The hole was in the very center of the river,” Foote said. “They were trapped out there in the middle and locked in. There was no way out.”
To make matters worse, Foote said the hole in the ice surrounding the deer appeared to be about 50 feet round — an indication the animals had been struggling to get out of the water for some time.
Foote used a tractor to haul one of their boats out to the frozen water.
“I knew they didn’t have much time,” said Foote, who called fellow neighbor Lynn Ball, who offered to come help.
“There was no way to break through the ice to get out there,” Foote said. Instead, they set the boat on top of the river and held onto it while they crawled across the icy surface, dragging the boat with them.
Despite losing his gloves 10 minutes into the rescue attempt and soaking himself, Foote said the immediacy of the situation kept the pair of
“That’s what kept us motivated,” he said. “We were frantic because we knew the deer were going down.”
Once the friends got their boat out to the deer they struggled to lift the animals out of the water.
Foote said the shore was about 350 feet away. He looped a rope around the doe’s neck in an attempt to steady her, but she struggled. So the two men spent the next hour breaking a pathway in the ice to shore around the hole that the animals were submerged in. “Lynn and I were both physically spent,” said Foote. “We were done.”
Once the ice was broken to shore, Foote and Ball began herding the deer toward shore.
Once there the nearly-frozen animals had to be hauled out of the water, where they laid helpless and spent.
“I took off my leather jacket and Lynn took off his sweatshirt and we covered them with our clothes,” recalled Nathan.
After getting their boat back to Foote’s property, an ordeal that was challenging and left both men soaking wet and freezing — Ball and his wife, Sue, took their car to the side of the river where the deer still lay. They brought corn and carrots — and thermal blankets for each animal.
“Within 30 minutes the yearling was up and eating the food,” said Foote.
But the doe lay there for over three hours before she finally stood. The fawn waited the entire time.
“After about four hours they walked off,” said Foote.
Peg Foote credits Ball’s help, saying the rescue never would have happened without him. And she is thankful that no one was hurt during the morning’s excitement.