Firefighters use CPR to save drowning fawn in Oak Grove, Minnesota

A neighbor called 911 with the story of two fawns drowning in a creek.

A neighbor called 911 with the story of two fawns drowning in a creek. Andover Fire Department Facebook page

Little tragedies occur every day in nature. On Tuesday, one was in progress in Oak Grove. A pair of twin fawns – so young there were still strands of umbilical cord trailing from their bellies – got trapped in a creek and were about to drown.

A nearby homeowner watched one of the babies slip under the water, feeling helpless to intervene. She called the Oak Grove Fire Department.

“This was a new one,” Chief Curt Hallermann says.

In his 34 years on the job, Hallermann has never saved a baby deer. But Oak Grove responded, calling their colleagues in Andover for good measure. Andover has special training and equipment for administering CPR to animals. They're usually dogs and cats suffering from smoke inhalation, but it would have to do.

Firefighters quickly got the fawns out of the water and went to work reviving them. Photos on Andover's Facebook page show firefighters kneeling by the side of a fawn no bigger than a kitten, one cupping his hands around its tiny mouth and breathing into it.

Hallermann says they spotted a doe they assumed to be the mother nearby, but she scampered off amid all the commotion.

They couldn’t save one of the babies. But, miraculously, they soon had the other up and walking, warmed by a blanket and nourished by a little syrup. A vet tech helped nurse it back to relative health, then they left it swaddled and “bellering” for its mother on the edge of the woods.

“We hoped mother and fawn could be reunited,” Hallermann says.

The next day, the fawn was gone.

The attempted revival, as the chief said, was a first, and he hopes he never has to do it again. But there was a warm response to the post on Facebook, with commenters saying the rescue effort “brought [them] to tears” and was “a wonderful thing.”  

As the old saying goes, you can tell the measure of a man by how he treats someone… or something… that can do him “absolutely no good.”