Ralph Dorn, a retired Marine Corps pilot from Virginia, is the owner of a Goldendoodle named Harley. On June 2, they were outside at the lake near their home, and suddenly Ralph couldn’t find his dog anywhere.
Then, he noticed Harley was in the water, paddling himself out to the middle of the lake:
But looking closer, Ralph realized that Harley wasn’t alone — and he realized the inspiring reason the dog was in the water.
Out in the middle of the lake was a baby deer, struggling to get back to shore. Harley had gone to rescue it, and after reaching the stranded animal began guiding the fawn back to dry land.
“Not sure how the fawn got out there but Harley obviously didn’t ask why, he just jumped into action,” Ralph wrote on Facebook.
The two made it back to shore. Ralph said that the deer’s mom came back for it. He was very proud of his heroic dog.
Even back on land, Harley kept protecting the deer: “Harley didn’t want to leave the fawn,” Ralph told People. “He just kept interacting with it, licking it, caring for it.”
But it turns out, Harley and the deer kept in touch. The next morning, Ralph noticed that Harley was restless, and looked out his front door… and saw the fawn, there to see Harley again.
“The little one stopped bleating, tail wagging, they touched noses sniffed each other and Harley came calmly back to the house with me,” Ralph wrote.
They had a brief, touching reunion, as if the deer wanted to stop by and thank Harley again for saving its life. The deer then walked off with its mother again.
Harley’s story has now gone viral: Ralph’s Facebook post recounting the story has been shared over 253,000 times. Ralph says he’s happy the story has moved so many people, but Harley’s act of heroism didn’t surprise him.
He says that Harley is a therapy dog who has worked with the elderly and children.
“We could tell right away, even as a puppy, he had such a good heart,” Ralph told People. “He has always been like that with children and animals. He loves them all.”
What a great dog! Thank you, Harley, for going out and saving this deer. You’re a true hero!