A morning walk on New Year’s Eve began uneventfully for North Cowichan residents Garry and Sheila Kerr.
“My wife and I were out for a walk on Mays Road with our dog,” Garry Kerr said. “We have a big German Shepherd and we were just walking down Mays Road and the dog kind of indicated something off to my left.”
Something had caught the curious pooch’s eye.
“I stopped,” Kerr said. “At first I didn’t see anything. Once I saw it, it was a big pond or slough there. A young deer there that had obviously been walking across the ice because it had frozen pretty hard that night and he had fallen through the ice.”
Kerr could see the animal was standing up but the frigid water was up past its belly.
“He kept thrashing and thrashing and thrashing and he was still quite a ways from the shore,” Kerr recalled.
The retired RCMP officer knew the deer wouldn’t survive if left to its own devices so he tried to call a couple of buddies to see if he could borrow a canoe.
Nobody was home.
Kerr called the fire department but they couldn’t help.
“I didn’t know what else to do, I spent 32 years in the RCMP, so I phoned the RCMP to see if they could call a conservation officer.”
Within minutes Const. Erin Stevenson arrived and was able to contact CO Mark Kissinger.
“Mark came down there right away and put on his big chest waders and just marched right out there and got the little guy out of the ice.”
Once back on shore the deer was wrapped in an RCMP emergency blanket to keep him warm.
After a call to Sandi Trent at the SPCA, the animal was brought to that facility where freshly warmed blankets were waiting.
“They were awesome to deal with,” Kerr said. “We kept him there for maybe an hour or so until he was dry and they felt the best thing to do was try to get him back as quickly as possible to an area he would be familiar with.”
Packed into a large dog crate stuffed with warm blankets, Kerr brought the deer back to the area where it was found, on the south side so the sun would shine on it.
A herd of deer was nearby.
“I went back just before dark and he was still in the crate but I was a little leery about leaving him there for the night.”
Kerr instead brought the animal to an old barn on the property and made up a cozy space.
“I carried him in and just put him in a big bed of straw for the night so he’d be nice and warm. The next morning I went to check on him and he was gone.”
A half dozen deer were in the field just a couple hundred yards away, however. “I’m guessing he was one of them,” Kerr said. “It’s a good news story.”