Ontario couple risk lives to rescue deer trapped in ice

Thomas Christopher took this photo with a deer he helped saved near Peterborough, Ont., on Nov. 18, 2018. Photo from Stephanie Christopher/Facebook.

A deer has been given a new lease on life after an Ontario couple came to her rescue.

In a Facebook post written on Sunday, Stephanie Christopher said she was travelling with Thomas Christopher to Lindsay, Ont., when the two saw a doe in the icy Pigeon River.

She told CHEX News she first thought she saw something floating in the water before realizing it was a deer stuck in the ice. Christopher said the incident occurred in Omemee, Ont., a village located 130 kilometres northwest of Toronto in Kawartha Lakes, Ont.

“We race back got the boat and managed to get to her,” the woman wrote Sunday. “At first she swam the other way but then turned around and came right to the boat where Thomas lifted her front feet onto the bow and she hung on with him while I paddled back to shore.”

She revealed it took four hours for the deer to get on her feet, including “hours of rubbing her and trying to stimulate her to move.”

In a blog post for Kawartha Lakes This Week, Omemee-area wildlife photographer Dave Ellis wrote about the incident, which he said he witnessed. Ellis noted there was an additional complication: After the Christophers got the deer out of the water and onto the shore, Ministry of Natural Resources officers had to get the deer over a guard rail and move her down the road until she was “safe from traffic,” he said.

They did an excellent job,” Ellis wrote. “At one point I saw them sacrifice their own safety and comfort to go waist deep into the icy cold water to prevent the frightened deer from going back out onto the pond. These people all went the extra mile and as a result this story has a happy ending.”

Christopher also said she’s thankful a man stopped and gave them some corn to feed to the animal. 

I think that made all the difference in her ability to regain her strength,” she added.

The woman shared eight photos and a video from the encounter, which eventually ended with the animal leaving on her own.

“The deer was pretty calm and compliant,” she told CHEX News. “I was happy about that. She was cold but calm.”

Christopher made it clear that the couple couldn’t leave the doe in distress.

“Hope you stay safe momma,” she wrote.