Ralph Dorn surveyed the lake's surface behind his home during the early evening of June 2, looking for his Goldendoodle, Harley. Then he spotted the pup about 200 feet from shore; the 6-year-old canine was swimming with another animal that, after a few moments, Dorn realized was a tiny baby deer.

"Not sure how the fawn got out there but Harley obviously didn't ask why, he just jumped into action," Dorn, 62, of Culpeper, Virginia, wrote in a viral Facebook post about the incident that's been shared over 250,000 times.

Harley paddled side-by-side with the fawn all the way to shore. Dorn met the animals on land and helped the fawn up a steep ledge. After he lifted the baby deer from the water and placed her on the grass, Harley began gently licking the fawn's body.

"Harley didn't want to leave the fawn," Dorn tells PEOPLE. "He just kept interacting with it, licking it, caring for it."

The fawn's mother appeared on the lawn shortly after the fawn reached the shore. Once Dorn spotted the mother deer, he took Harley inside their nearby home. The doe waited until Dorn and Harley were gone and then walked off with her baby.

But the next morning, while Dorn and his wife, Patricia, 64, were drinking coffee, something was amiss.

"Harley got restless running from window to window. I opened the front door and we could hear the fawn bleating," Dorn wrote in the Facebook post.

"Harley ran into the tree line and found the fawn," he wrote. "The little one stopped bleating, tail wagging, they touched noses sniffed each other and Harley came calmly back to the house with me."

After the brief reunion with Harley, the fawn settled down, Dorn tells PEOPLE, and by the end of the day, the baby and its mom were gone again. Dorn, who estimates the fawn was a few days old, hasn't seen the pair since.


Responses to "Virginia Dog Saves Fawn From Drowning and Refuses to Leave Its Side"

  1. Animals really do show us up. They are not afraid of words like 'handicap' or 'challenged'. They deal with what IS. They don't sugar coat it. They live for the moment, enjoy life to the full. The past was yesterday and they ignore it. Don't become bitter, resentful, whatever Wild or domestic, they succor any breed, any species in need, most of the time. They don't have borders. They are not hindered by fear, color or anything else, they put themselves out to help without fear, without reservation. These animals are such wonderful examples for us. Animals time and time again have shown themselves to be far more compassionate and caring than most people.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Well, now the concern is will the fawn and mother reunite, and will the mother accept her.

Write a comment