It's not the kind of rescue they're called to every day, but firefighters in Andover and Oak Grove, Minn., made the best of what they had - on a pair of newborn fawns.
Fire Chief Curt Hallerman said an Oak Grove homeowner heard cries coming from a creek Tuesday. When firefighters arrived, they found Anoka County deputies with the two fawns already pulled out of the water, one with an umbilical cord attached. A doe watched from nearby.
It was a sad situation, Hallerman said. One of the fawns was all but lifeless, the other clearly in desperate condition. A deputy administered oxygen to one of the animals. Firefighters joined in.
"Andover had recently completed basic animal rescue training," Hallerman said later. "And they also had some specialized gear for actually doing CPR on animals, such as dogs and cats, so we called them to assist."
Firefighters and deputies went to work as a veterinary technician from Dover Kennels gave advice. "We dried off the fawn that was still breathing, wrapped it in towels, gave it some Karo syrup and tried to get the fawn walking," Hallerman said.
One perked up, he said, but the smaller one succumbed to the cold water. Hallerman said they decided the best option for a full recovery was to let the doe retrieve and care for her fawn away from the crowd of rescuers. All firefighters and deputies could do was leave and hope for the best.
"We did go back," Hallerman said Wednesday. "The homeowner wasn't there, but the fawn was gone this morning when I went back over there and I didn't see any trace of him so I'm hoping at this point that fawn and mom got reunited."
Andover firefighters posted photos of the rescue to Facebook, and the Minnesota Sheriff's Association posted the pictures to Twitter, grabbing social media attention.
Officials from the Andover and Oak Grove FDs proved that CPR isn't just for humans!
Yesterday, they helped a set of twin fawns trapped in the water.
Great job by both departments!! pic.twitter.com/iRI4ZMYsQJ
- Minnesota Sheriffs’ Association (@MNSheriffs) May 22, 2019
Luckily there weren't any human medical or other emergencies at the time that required the firefighter's attention - they'd have left immediately for any human-related calls, Hallerman said. But a family in such desperate straits just couldn't be denied, even if they were animals, he added.
"We've trained a lot on CPR on humans and children. But fawns, that was a new one. First time in 34 years I have ever done CPR on a fawn," Hallerman said.
Minnesota Public Radio News can be heard in Duluth at 100.5 FM or online at MPRNews.org.