The Merrickville community banded together at the beginning of last week to help a doe which was trapped in the Rideau Canal locks. Merrickville-Wolford resident, Robyn Fredrickson, says the doe was first noticed in the lock on Sunday, January 13. She got involved in the evening, when a group of people were looking for hay/straw bales to make stairs to try and enable the deer to escape. Several people had already been on site, trying to get in touch with the proper authorities for a rescue. “We went and borrowed ten bales of hay from the farm where my horse is, and got some grain,” she says.
The group dropped a picnic table down into the lock and built stairs. Other villagers also left apples and carrots out for the deer. As a group, they decided it would be best to leave her overnight to see if she would escape on her own. Later that night, when someone checked on her, they thought she had escaped; but when they checked again at 5:30 am she was still there.
When it became light on Monday morning, Robyn and her friend, Lisa Card, went down to the locks to keep an eye on her and minimize her stress, and then called the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR). The OPP and Fire Department had also been called. When the OPP arrived, she was nowhere to be found; but they realized that she was hiding in the sluice of the lock.
At 10:30 am, MNR called to say they were on their way. When they arrived, the villagers showed them where she was hiding and they were able to get her out of her hiding place and tranquilize her. She was in a difficult place to reach, so the fire department was called in with their ladders to help get her out of the lock.
The deer was carried to safety and then driven out to the woods, where she was released. “With the teamwork of all involved, it had a happy ending,” Robyn says. “We are fortunate to have the services such as MNR, Merrickville Fire and OPP to help.” Lisa was impressed with the number of residents who wanted to help get the little doe to safety. “Quite a few people offered help of various kinds, from vehicles to materials to manpower, but made their own decision to stay ‘out of the way’ until called on. I think that’s pretty awesome too.”