Talk about being at the right place at the right time.
This Long Island family was spending a relaxing day at home when they suddenly had to spring into action to save some wildlife in peril. A fawn had wandered into their backyard, not knowing about the family’s in ground pool, and I’m sure you can tell where this is going…
Anthony Masaitis is the 12-year-old kid-turned-hero that quickly acted to save the baby deer in trouble. Anthony’s Dad, Gregory, had started recording the fawn as it walked throughout their backyard, not even thinking that it might fall into the water.
When CBS News New York sat down to talk with Anthony about how the incident started, he responded with:
“Dad comes in and says ‘Anthony, Anthony, there’s a baby deer right over here’ and I’m like ‘what?'”
It came straight by the chicken coop and then came up here and into the pool.”
Once the fawn “kerplunked” into the water, the attitude of the father and son turned from watching from a distance to rushing to the rescue. They knew with the small size of the newborn, they wouldn’t have much time to save it.
“When it fell in the pool, I said ‘she’s not going to make it out.’ If she goes into the deep end, I’m gonna have to jump in.”
I put her here (on the edge) first, then she kind of wobbled back in. She didn’t know what water was.”
The 12-year-old moved quickly, but not before the baby deer swam towards the other side away from him. Once Anthony reached the opposite side where the fawn had paddled to, he eventually pulled it out of the water.
Then it fell back in again, but was quickly rescued once more.
The poor fawn’s legs kept giving out as it tried to walk, clearly tired from treading water even for just the short period of time that it had to. Survival instincts must have kicked in, because the baby deer looked like a natural as it doggy (or deery?) paddled through the pool.
Gregory Masaitis, who has one of the most traditional New York/New Jersey accents you’ll ever hear, was excited that they were there to rescue the baby animal, but did voice some concern in his portion of the news interview:
“I was concerned with touching the baby, and putting human scent on the baby.”
Many believe that a newborn with human scent on it could be abandoned and rejected by their mother after it has made contact. Clearly the Masaitis family had no choice but to rescue the fawn from drowning, but it still caused the father and son to be distressed.
“I couldn’t stop thinking all night ‘is she going to be okay? Did she find her mother?'”
Thankfully, we can confirm that the mother deer and fawn reunited after the baby deer’s scary dip in the pool. Hours after they filmed the rescue, a trail camera that set up in their backyard wooded area caught a picture of the doe and fawn together, which is shown in the video linked below.
Anthony and his Dad Gregory were very lucky that they were home and happened to catch sight of the fawn before it fell in. When the 12-year-old was asked about the timing of everything, he said:
“Saving the baby deer, not a lot of kids get to experience it. If we weren’t home, she would have drowned.”
Thus, a happy ending for everyone involved.
Especially Anthony Masaitis.
Apparently the video, which went viral on TikTok, has garnered the young boy with what the kids are calling nowadays “clout.” Many of his classmates saw the video and how many others had seen it, making Anthony somewhat of a celebrity.
In the closing of the news piece, Anthony excitedly said:
“All my friends are like ‘oh my gosh, you’re famous, I want your autograph.”
Anthony got what all kids want nowadays (something far more valuable than a life lesson about being selfless and helping others in need): internet stardom.
Watch the local news story covering the incident below:
The original TikTok, which has been viewed over 2.5 million times, is also linked here: