Seeing a deer lying on ice-covered Sand Lake outside their rural New Auburn home in Rusk County, David Cook
and his wife, Margarete, decided to act.
Instead of donning a coat, his
wife nominated him for the job, said Cook
Despite several fatalities involving ice this winter, Cook
was confident the ice was thick enough to support him and the deer.
"It was glare ice out there, and every time he
tried to get up, he'd fall on his
chin," Cook said of the deer."He
just couldn't figure out the ice."
The doctor likened the deer's attempts to get up to those of Bambi, the fawn featured in Walt Disney's movie of the same name who lost his
footing when he
tried to "ice skate" on a frozen pond with his
rabbit pal, Thumper."He was probably running at a clip, slid, and his feet went out from under him," said Cook, a doctor at Marshfield Clinic's Urgent Care Center on Craig Road in Eau Claire.
"The movie couldn't have hit it any better."
Like Bambi, Cook
figured the deer was a young buck, maybe not even a year old, which weighed about 80 pounds.
As the doctor approached, the deer tried to get up a few times to no avail.Once Cook reached him, he
knelt and tried to calm the animal by talking to him, petted him a bit, checked his
legs to see if they were broken and scratched an ear.When he
did the latter, the deer leaned into him a bit.
"I think he
must have felt I was there trying to help him," Cook said.
The doctor, who is used to caring for human patients, figures the animal whose face was coated with ice had been stuck on the ice for at least a couple of hours.Cook
tried to encourage the deer to get up on his
own, but the doctor eventually had to take the deer by the horns - figuratively speaking, of course - and began sliding the deer across the ice to an area where snow had frozen onto the ice.
The deer was able to stand and slipped once, Cook
said, but started off on his
own - after the doctor told him to stay on the snow.Initially, the deer seemed a bit stiff, but then took off into the woods without a glance back at his
hasn't seen the deer - or any others - since the Dec. 15 incident.However, two days after he
helped the deer get off the ice, a rabbit hopped onto the 12-foot deck of his
Rusk County home and looked in his
bedroom window.Thumper, perhaps?
The rescue also is drawing the attention of two-legged animals."Dateline NBC" has contacted Marshfield Clinic
with an interest in the story.
In addition, patients are teasing Cook
about being the "Deer Whisperer," considering his efforts are reminiscent of those of canine expert Cesar Milan, featured on National Geographic's "Dog Whisperer."
"This might have been one of Rudolph's progeny," joked Cook
, speaking of "the most famous reindeer of all."