Rock Community Fire Protection District Capt. Mike Shafferkoetter’s crew got a call for an unusual rescue this morning (April 26) just outside the Arnold’s city limits.
Rock Fire was called at about 6:15 a.m. because a doe fell into an above-ground pool at a home in the 4800 block of Oxford Lane southwest of Arnold, Shafferkoetter said.
He said the pool water was just less than 4 feet deep, and the doe could not reach the bottom.
“When we got on the scene, we heard her thrashing, trying to get over the edge of the pool,” Shafferkoetter said. “By the looks of her and the markings, she was probably an older doe.”
Shafferkoetter, along with firefighters Jason Goebel and Mark Strubberg, used throw ropes designed for water rescues to snare the doe’s neck and back legs and guided the doe to the pool’s ladder to get it onto the deck. The firefighters then got the doe onto the grass, where she lay down because of exhaustion, Shafferkoetter said.
He said the homeowner’s surveillance video showed the doe was in the pool at least by 6 a.m., and the does was rescued by about 7:30 a.m.
“She was visibly shivering from the cold water and being exhausted,” Shafferkoetter said. “She was treading water that whole time.”
He said the doe did not appear to be injured, and the homeowner closed a gate leading to the pool and opened the gate to his backyard to allow the doe to leave when she regained her strength.
She didn’t move after the firefighters got the doe on the ground, Shafferkoetter said.
“She tried to stand up, but her legs were so weak she couldn’t stand up," he said. "We moved her into the grass in the sunshine to help her warm up.
“We contacted a conservation agent, and she said what we did was the only way to do it (get the doe out of the pool). You feel bad doing it that way, because there was nothing subtle we could do to get her out of the pool. We did what we could to get her out as humanely as we could.”
As of late this morning, Shafferkoetter said Rock Fire personnel had not heard whether the deer had left the backyard.
He said the home is close to Rock Fire House 4 on 3889 Miller Road near the Elm Drive intersection. He said he did not know how the doe got into the pool.
Shafferkoetter said rescuing a doe from a pool was a first for him as a firefighter.
“We’ve had a deer in a frozen pond,” Shafferkoetter said. “Another firefighter said he had to wrangle cows that got off a farm and were destroying things in a trailer park. It is one of those things that you have no idea what you are going to come into. It could be a house fire or getting a deer out of a swimming pool. You have to be ready for everything.”
To see a video of the rescue, go to the Rock Fire Facebook page.