A young doe is probably a lot warmer and dryer thanks to a group of rescuers who pulled her out of a storage pond at Fowler Park Wednesday.
Division Chief Jason Shivers of the Forsyth County Fire Department said emergency crews were alerted around 11 a.m. that the doe, about a year old, was in the pond and that she had been in the water since Monday, Dec. 31.
"The staff at the Fowler Water Treatment Plant saw her in that pond and thought that she would get herself out," he said.
Shivers explained why the staff waited two days before alerting authorities.
"They had never experienced that before, they had never encountered a deer in a pond before, so their assumption was that, and likely so, that she would get herself out and it would be best to leave her alone," he said.
But when the staff returned to work after the New Year's Day holiday on Wednesday morning, the doe was still in the water and that's when the call for help was made.
Shivers said nine firefighters and two animal control officers were on the scene working together to rescue the doe but were up against several challenges. He said the sides of the storage pond are very steep and slick making it hard for the doe to get a firm grip on the surface side and pull herself out of the water.
Emergency crews tried numerous times to lasso her neck using a catch-and-release pole but were unsuccessful. Shivers said every time they were within inches of capturing the frightened doe, she would swim away from the rescuers to the other side of the pond.
"We knew that she was getting extremely exhausted, it was obvious that she was very tired, she was very, very cold," said Shivers. "Our fear was she would eventually drown out in the middle of the pond."
Their hope was that the doe would quit fighting and surrender to them. Shivers said after crews chased her back and forth across the pond about 12 times for two hours, she finally tired out, and was unable to escape from them.
The rescuers managed to lasso her neck, pull her out of the water, and safely place her on land. She was then taken to the edge of the woods at Fowler Park near the Big Creek Greenway and released.
"She was fine, she was alert, oriented and was not injured in anyway, short of course from being exhausted completely," said Shivers. "We left her alone, she was fine and sometime later she got up and walked away."
Shivers said the facility is fenced in and believes at some point the doe jumped the fence, which he said is not uncommon, given that deer have the ability to jump pretty high up.
So what could have turned out to be a tragic event, ended happily.
"It was a successful day, of course, it was a chance for us to think outside the box and use some of those skills the firemen have to come up with unique solutions when we meet problems," Shivers said. "We're proud to have helped her and live another day."
Editor's Note: Jodi Gardner, spokesperson of Forsyth County, told Cumming Patch the doe was trapped in a reject storage pond located at the Fowler Water Reclamation Facility. This is an area where treated water is held before it's reprocessed through the facility.