Herb Herbert donated this photograph of the Montauk Fire Department rescuing a horse trapped in the ice near Deep Hollow Ranch. Fireman Tom Grenci reports that the rescue was successful, and that the horse survived after walking out onto the frozen surface of the lake and falling in.
Most Montaukers are pet-passionate and care deeply about the surrounding wildlife. In 2003, photographer Kathryn Abbe recorded an oral history with the Montauk Library. She described looking out the window of her home in the Montauk bluffs, observing a deer swimming in the ocean waves. Its nose was pointed in the air. The deer was fine, but a crowd had gathered around the ocean’s edge, taking pictures. The deer, fearful of people, retreated. It would swim further, and try to come in. The people followed. The deer, retreating again, was becoming exhausted in the pounding surf.
Abbe’s husband James and about 8 to 10 other strong swimmers swam out behind the deer, encircling the skittish animal like a human net, and slowly brought it to shore. Abbe’s twin sister Frances kept the crowd with cameras at bay, telling them, “No, you can’t come closer.” A beach towel was placed under the deer, who collapsed on top of it, panting. Then, Kathryn said, “several people dragged the beach towel into the beach grass and left it there. The deer lay there for a while and then got up and ran off into the underbrush. So that was a happy story.”
Another happy story resulted from the Montauk Fire Department’s icy heroics. As Montauker Dick White recalls, “only a few minutes after it was pulled from the ice, the horse walked off as if nothing happened. That was a great result.”