The weirdly inspiring story of a deer swimming in Lake Michigan (VIDEO)

CHICAGO – Edgewater resident CJ Danner was grabbing a cup of coffee near Montrose Harbor Tuesday afternoon when he spotted something unexpected swimming in the water: a female deer.

Danner said he’s been working on starting a YouTube Channel and just happened to have his camera on hand. So he started recording as he followed the doe from the shore, keeping an eye out in case it needed help.

He tracked the deer as it swam for 45 minutes along the edge of the pier, clearly looking for a way out, but finding concrete instead.

Soon, a small herd of other concerned humans were tracking its progress, Danner said. A police officer. A group of tourists visiting Chicago for the first time. Someone called 911.

“We didn’t know if we were going to have to jump in to rescue it or what,” Danner said.

Eventually, the doe paddled its way to the rocky waterfront and found some unsure footing there. Still, watching it stumble, Danner thought the onlookers would need to push it off the rocks.

Then nature intervened. A gaggle of geese in the water nearby swam towards the deer as it struggled on the shore.

“They kept squawking at it and scaring it or encouraging it – I’m not sure one way or the other,” Danner said.

Either way, the deer eventually made its way up the rocks and onto a nearby walking path.

“If it wasn’t for [the geese] I don’t know if the deer would have made it up the bank,” Danner said. “It’s like nature working together.”

Back on shore, the deer hesitated for a moment before bounding over a fence and onto the Sydney R. Marovitz Golf Course.