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Mark Freeley


Welcome to the 17th edition of Paw Prints, a monthly column for animal lovers dedicated to helping shelter pets find their furever home!


Meet Napoleon

Currently at Little Shelter in Huntington, Napoleon “Bone-aparte” is a ten-year-old Pekingese mix, hailing from the French Quarter of Louisiana. Choosing to travel to New York via the Passage to Freedom Program with the intention of conquering the hearts of Long Islanders, he’s ready to stake claim to a home of his very own. Not shy about voicing his many attributes, this little commander is confident that he has everything it takes to become the perfect addition to your family. A skilled strategist, he wisely divides his time between recreation and being the ideal lap warmer. Welcoming Napoleon into your family would be a major victory on your part, so stop by Little Shelter today! Call 631-368-8770, ext 21.


Meet Dove

This beauty was brought to the Brookhaven Animal Shelter by an Animal Control Officer. She along with two others were taken out of a bad situation; since being at the shelter she has put on 10 pounds. Estimated to be one to two years old, Dove loves everyone she meets, is full of life, energetic, playful and she loves her toys. She knows sit and is very treat motivated. She goes belly up for rubs and loves attention. She will do best in a home with kids over the age of 14, is not a fan of the cats and has been a rock star with dogs at the shelter. Dove is looking for a family to love, a place to call home and bed of her own. Is that too much to ask? Fill out a Matchmaker application online at www.brookhavenny.gov or call 631-451-6950.


Meet Max

This strikingly handsome young fellow is Max, a two-year-old Corgi currently up for adoption at Little Shelter in Huntington. He is happy, smart, affectionate, funny and unfailingly loyal. Looking for his forever home, he’s been shining up his collar to match his glowing personality, determined to make a “pawsitive” first impression, winning your heart in the process. Well-behaved, yet with an undeniable sense of mischief, he would be the perfect addition to most any family, bringing light and a sense of joy along with his wagging tail. Life is meant to be lived to the Max….Come meet him today! Call 631-368-8770, ext 21.

Hannah Montana

Meet Hannah Montana

As unique as her name, this is Hannah Montana, a five-year-old lab mix waiting at Little Shelter in Huntington for her furever home. Not letting being a tripod (or tripawd!) slow her down, she can run, jump and play with the best of them, proving that with a good attitude, you can accomplish anything. Sweet-natured and affectionate, she thrives on attention, happiest in the company of her favorite people. Resilient of both body and spirit, she knows her best life is waiting just around the corner, secretly hoping it will be with you! Stop by soon to meet Little Shelter’s resident superstar! Call 631-368-8770, ext 21.

Meet Fajita

Kent Animal Shelter in Calverton has many kitties available for adoption including Fajita, a 1 1/2 year old black tiger kitty who was abandoned in a feral colony. Even though he had a rough start, he has adjusted well and is ready to find a family. Fajita is playful, handsome and loves his favorite lambchop toy. Call 631-727-5731, ext. 1 or come meet him in person.

Free rabies clinic

The Town of Brookhaven Animal Shelter and Adoption Center, 300 Horseblock Road, Brookhaven will hold a free Rabies Clinic on Saturday, May 13 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The clinic is open to all Town residents and offers free rabies vaccinations for all dogs, cats and ferrets and free cat/dog FVRCP or DAPPCV vaccine. Dogs must be on a leash. Cats and ferrets must be in a carrier. No appointment necessary. For more information, call 631-451-6950.

Rescue is a lifestyle. Adopt, don’t shop!

Check out the next Paw Prints in the issue of June 8.

Paw Prints is generously sponsored by Mark T. Freeley, Esq.




Welcome to the 13th edition of Paw Prints, a monthly column for animal lovers dedicated to helping shelter pets find their furever home! 


Meet Mia

Mia is a spayed female pit or mastiff mix currently up for adoption at the Smithtown Animal Shelter. Short and stout and built for play, Mia loves to self-entertain, throwing her toys all over the place and making people smile. She also loves snuggle time, going for walks and giving kisses. This lovely dog is a volunteer favorite with her goofy personality and fun-loving attitude. Mia grew up as a yard dog making her very distrustful of strangers so she needs a home that can manager proper introductions to new people until she is comfortable.  Once Mia accepts someone, it is forever. Call 631-360-7575 to set up a meet and greet.


Meet Konstantin

This handsome guy is Konstantin, a 5-year-old tabby cat at the Brookhaven Animal Shelter who is constantly purring and looking for love. Konstantin arrived at the shelter after being taken out of a bad situation for his own safety. He arrived flea infested and upon an examination with the doctor it was discovered that he has a heart murmur. An echocardiogram revealed that he has Tachycardia and now takes a 81mg aspirin once every three days. It was recommended that he have a follow up Echocardiogram in 9 months. He is doing fabulous and he is hoping to find his forever home very soon. Weighing in at 11.12 pounds, he up to date on vaccinations, micro-chipped and FELV/FIV negative. If you are in the market for a new furry family member, please consider opening your heart and home to Konstantin — you won’t regret it! Call 631-451-8696.


Meet Suzzie

A self-proclaimed fan of “sweater weather,” this stylishly outfitted young lady is Suzzie, a two-year-old Shih Tzu mix waiting at Little Shelter in Huntington for her furever home. With her charming disposition and adventuresome spirit, she would fit perfectly into any household, upping the happiness quotient. Kind, social and just the right amount of silly, this adorable girl is hoping to find her forever home, knowing she possess all the qualifications of a best friend. She is fully grown, housebroken and gets along with other dogs and cats. Suzzie may just be the reason that the Shih Tzu is one of America’s the most popular dogs. Find out for yourself…stop by to meet her today! Call 631-368-8770, ext. 21.


Meet Fergie

“Dear Diary. Here are some words to help you on the journey of your life. You’ll need a hero. And a good dog. Especially a good dog.” Meet Fergie, a gentle, well-mannered seven-year-old Pit mix and canine rock star up for adoption at Little Shelter in Huntington.! Hoping to find a home with her own spot on a comfy couch, limitless treats, and unconditional acceptance, this beauty promises everlasting friendship and devotion in return. The perfect partner for a leisurely stroll followed by popcorn and a movie, Fergie knows that the simple things in life are also the best. He is fully grown and housebroken and gets along well with other dogs and cats. Stop by Little Shelter and ask to meet an especially good dog….Fergie will be leading the pack! Call 631-368-8770, ext. 21.


Meet Brie

“Sweet dreams are made of cheese, who am I to diss a Brie?” A five-year-old Labrador mix who gets along with other dogs and cats, this ‘grate’ful  girl is hoping to find her forever home, ensuring a happy new beginning to 2023. Full of texture and complexity, she pairs perfectly with an active, adventurous family, and a Puppachino! Smart, affectionate, housebroken and a truly “Gouda” girl, stop by Little Shelter in Huntington soon to meet a smooth operator known as Brie! Call 631-368-8770, ext. 21.


Meet Babs

This is Babs, a stunning little lady who is spayed, up to date on vaccines, and ready to join a family that has a box for her to play with. Please consider coming down to Brookhaven Animal shelter and meeting this lovebug! No appointment necessary. Call 631-451-8696.

Check out the next Paw Prints in the issue of Feb. 8, 2023

Paw Prints is generously sponsored by Mark T. Freeley, Esq.

By Heidi Sutton

Welcome to the 11th edition of Paw Prints, a monthly column for animal lovers dedicated to helping shelter pets find their furever home! 


Meet Boo

Look who’s waiting for you at the Smithtown Animal Shelter! This stunning and giant boy is as beautiful on the inside as he is on the outside. Boo loves to get attention and pets. He can be a little dominant with other cats, so he would likely do best as the only pet in the home or with very quiet/low key pets. He is a very large cat, not full Main Coon, but it is in the genetic mix somewhere. Call 631-360-7575 to set up a meet and greet.

Meet Selma & Patricia

Looking for a home together, meet ten-year-old Shih-tzu mixes Selma and Patricia at Little Shelter in Huntington. Like two peas in a pod, this petite pair fit perfectly together, complementing each other’s personalities. Always on the same page, they wholeheartedly agree that they deserve to be the center of attention in most situations, graciously accepting your adoration! “Sisters” at heart, they prefer to do everything in sync, from stirring up some “good” trouble to sharing a cozy spot during nap time. Stop by Little Shelter today and increase your chance at happiness when you double down with Selma and Patricia. Call 631-368-8770.

Meet Milo

At 79 pounds, this hunk is a happy, outgoing and playful guy who is looking for a love connection. Picked up as a stray by a Good Samaritan, he is now at the Brookhaven Animal Shelter  hoping to find a new family to call his own very soon. Estimated to be 5 to 8 years young, Milo walks well on leash, is sweet and bouncy, loves attention and would make a great companion and best friend. He has the sweetest eyes and will melt your heart. He will do best in a home with no cats and with kids over the age of 14. Call 631-451-6950.

Meet Tori

Tori is seeking a new foster or forever home! Available through Kent Animal Shelter in Calverton, Tori is a wonderfully sweet and affectionate dog who is just not built for the shelter life. A two and a half year old lab mix, she was originally rescued from a high kill shelter in Texas, and just when she thought she was out of the woods in a forever home she was attacked by another dog. We can’t blame her for not being happy in a shelter after all of the trouble she has been through in her short life so far.  She is currently so happy in her foster home, however it’s not the perfect forever fit and both her foster mom and Kent agree she deserves the best of the best. Tori is looking for a home with no cats (this playful pup likes to chase), moderate activity (too many new people coming and going can be scary), and lots of love to give. For more information, call 631-727-5731, Ext. 1.

Meet Diamond

A Diamond is associated with strength, love and invincibility, a befitting description for this fourteen-year-old Terrier mix, currently up for adoption at Little Shelter in Huntington. Though blind due to mature cataracts, he nevertheless sees the world with flawless clarity, recognizing and basking in the love that surrounds him. Adept at navigating on three legs, he is a testament to not letting anything get in the way of enjoying a full, satisfying life, emphasizing the importance of counting your blessings. With a happy, outgoing demeanor, this Silver Paw Connection senior knows the value of remaining young at heart, knowing that a positive attitude makes all the difference. Warm, affectionate and the perfect carat weight, this true gem is just waiting to be discovered. Remember that a Diamond is forever. Call 631-368-8770.

Check out the next Paw Prints in the issue of Dec. 8.

Paw Prints is generously sponsored by Mark T. Freeley, Esq.


Welcome to the tenth edition of Paw Prints, a monthly column for animal lovers dedicated to helping shelter pets find their furever home!





This beautiful and affectionate 10-year-old girl arrived at the Smithtown Animal Shelter as a stray. She had suffered long term bilateral ear infections that caused her heavy scarring of her outer ears, severe thickening of her ear canals, hearing loss and incredible pain. The hard decision was made to remove both of her ears to let her know a pain free existence. Hollie went through the first surgery like a champ, never stopping her undying affection for everyone. She will have her second surgery shortly, and then will be ready for her home. She is social with other cats and all people. As a result of the surgery, Hollie may temporarily or permanently lose her ability to blink one or both eyes (only time will tell), so a potential home will have to be able to lubricate her eyes several times a day for her.  631-360-7575


Meet Lucy

Currently at the Brookaven Animal Shelter, this spunky girl is looking for a second chance. Lucy has been at the shelter multiple times in the past few years. Her owner decided not to pick her up this time. Lucy is a sweet girl who really just wants to be with you at your side and enjoy all that life has to offer. At seven years young and a petit 37 pounds, she is playful, energetic and outgoing, knows how to sit and is very treat motivated. Lucy has done well with dogs at the shelter and is completely uninterested in cats. She would do best with children over 12 years old. 631-631-451-6950.


Meet Wizzie

Wizzie is a handsome 5-year-old male at Kent Animal Shelter in Calverton who loves back scratches but can be a little shy at times. Don’t let that stop you from adopting him; once he’s settled in a home he will come out of his shell. This shelter life is just not for him! Come meet him today! 631-727-5731, ext. 1


Meet Kuno

Strike a pose! This sweet two-year-old Chesapeake Bay Retriever/Doberman Pinscher mix was rescued from a high-kill shelter in Georgia and is now safe at Kent Animal Shelter in Calverton. Kuno is a well mannered and very handsome boy who loves the camera. Come meet him today! 631-727-5731, ext. 1

Meet Charm

Just look at that face! This lovely senior is Charm, currently up for adoption at Little Shelter in Huntington. Charm loves to be pet and will meow at you until you give her some attention and much needed love. She is also a very good eater; she loves her wet food and treats. So if you’re looking for a cat who’s a little older and just wants to be loved then Charm is your girl. 631-368-8770, ext. 36


Meet Clark

The cool kid on the block, meet Clark, a six-year-old Terrier mix waiting at Little Shelter in Huntington for his furever home. Though having little opportunity for socialization in his previous environment, he displays an innate sense of confidence and an outgoing personality, clearly pronouncing himself ready for adoption! This clever fellow knows how to win friends, influence people, and make himself indispensable! Once you meet him, you’ll be bowled over by his enthusiasm for life and his capacity to love. 631-368-8770, ext. 21

Check out the next Paw Prints in the issue of Nov. 10.

Paw Prints is generously sponsored by Mark T. Freeley, Esq.



Welcome to the seventh edition of Paw Prints, a monthly column for animal lovers dedicated to helping shelter pets find their furever home! 



Meet Quincy

A ten-year-old Pomeranian mix, this is Quincy, aka Fancy Pants!, and a proud member of Little Shelter’s Silver Paw Connection. This spry and sassy senior is vying to become the newest member of your family. Smart, curious, and a bit feisty, Poms have been nicknamed, “the little dog who thinks he can”, and our Quincy is supremely confident that he will win you over in no time flat! Full of personality, you’ll find his company both entertaining and inspiring. It has been said that: “Adopting a senior dog is like fast-forwarding to the best part.” The best is waiting for you at Little Shelter in Huntington….just ask for Quincy. Call 631-368-8770, ext. 21.

Reilly & DJ

Meet Reilly and DJ

Currently at the Smithtown Animal Shelter, these 3-year-old brothers were left homeless when their mom passed away and are looking for another loving home to live out the rest of their lives together. DJ has a thick black coat and loves affection all the time from whomever will dish it out. He is a sweet boy and will cry for love and for his brother. Sporting an orange and white coat, Reilly takes a bit more time to warm up to new people, but is reported to be a lap cat when he does bond with a human. Call 631-360-7575.Rielly


Meet Margarita

This refreshing little lady is Margarita, a ten-year-old Poodle mix up for adoption at Little Shelter in Huntington. The perfect accompaniment for a short walk or lounging by the pool, she is brimming with interesting tales, always keeping up her end of the conversation. Alert, intelligent, and still active, she is living proof that age is merely a number, remaining young at heart and mind. Loyal and loving, with a streak of independence, she would be a great addition for most families. Live the lime life with this Margarita by your side…salt is optional! Call 631-368-8770, ext. 21


Meet Pesto

Waiting patiently for his furever home, Pesto is a young short-haired cat who has been overlooked for too long! He likes snuggles and playtime and spends most of his time on the enclosed deck at Little Shelter in Huntington watching the birds and chipmunks. Come meet him today! Call 631-368-8770, ext. 36.


Meet Logan

Just look at that sweet face! Logan is a young yellow lab mix rescued from a shelter in south Louisiana and now up for adoption at Kent Animal Shelter in Calverton,  He weighs about 82lb and is about one and a half years old. Logan is looking forward to finding a loving forever home where he can be safe and live out a happy long life. Come meet this sweetheart today! Call 631-727-5731, ext. 1.

Paw Print News:
Anna & Raven

Join Little Shelter Animal Rescue & Adoption Center, 33 Warner Road, Huntington for Anna & Raven’s Adopt & Rescue event on Saturday, July 16 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. There will be numerous dogs, cats, puppies and kittens available for adoption along with live music, handmade jewelry and raffle baskets. Call 631-368-8770 ext. 21 for more  information.

Check out the next Paw Prints in the issue of Aug. 11.

Paw Prints is generously sponsored by Mark T. Freeley, Esq.



Welcome to the sixth edition of Paw Prints, a monthly column for animal lovers dedicated to helping shelter pets find their furever home!


Meet Buddy

Mark Twain once said, “To get the full value of joy, you must have someone to divide it with.” Who better than your best Buddy? This affectionate, agreeable ten-year-old Terrier mix is the ideal one to share the day to day simple pleasures with, whether it be a stroll in the park or an impromptu gathering with friends. An active member of Little Shelter’s Silver Paw Connection, Buddy knows that you’re never too old to dream. At the top of his wish list is a forever home and a family to love. Life is always better with a Buddy by your side. 631-368-8770, ext. 21


Meet Maple

Dogs named Maple tend to be good-natured, loyal, affectionate, and loving … the perfect description for this three-year-old Terrier mix, currently up for adoption at Little Shelter in Huntington. The name also symbolizes balance, promise, and intelligence. Rescued from a hoarding situation, Maple is still a bit shy, though loves going for walks and receiving attention and pets. Ready for a happy new beginning, she’s putting on her best “adopt me” face, just waiting for you to say, “There she is, she’s the one!” Stop by Little Shelter today to meet Miss Maple and welcome her into your family. 631-368-8770, ext. 21


Meet Journey

This sweet and social senior arrived at the Brookhaven Animal Shelter after being picked up as a stray by an Animal Control Officer. Journey has found herself homeless, alone and looking for a second chance since no one has come in looking for her. She is hoping to meet her person soon and enjoy a good life. Journey loves belly rubs and likes to chew on a good bone. She walks very nicely on leash and likes to stroll and smell the roses. She will need to be the only pet in an adult only home. At 8-10 plus years young she should not be spending her days and nights in a kennel. Come meet her today! 631-451-6950.


Meet Princeton

“Hi! My name is Princeton. I am a 2 and a half year old year old male American Bulldog Terrier Mix. I was rescued from a high kill shelter in Georgia, and although I am now safe at Kent Animal Shelter in Calverton, I am still nervous. I am a super sweet and a good boy; I’ve just been through a lot and need someone I can trust to take care of me and show me that life and people aren’t so scary.” 631-727-5731, ext. 1


Meet Thor

This sweetheart was recently abandoned in the Kent Animal Shelter parking lot with 2 other cats. Approximately 9 years old, Thor is a huge mush who craves affection, and has so much love to give! Come meet him today and see how fast he can charm you! 631-727-5731, ext. 1


Meet Ultra

A two-year-old Boxer mix, this exceptional girl is Ultra. Looking for a family with high hopes, an even higher fence, and dog experience, she is ready to put her paw print on adoption papers and change her address to yours! While displaying a calm, dignified demeanor, she’s also quick-witted with a good sense of humor, guaranteed to bring a smile to your face. Curious about life and eager to explore the world around her, she’s the perfect one to accompany you on all your adventures. Intelligent and loyal, she has all the qualifications of a best friend and lifelong companion. Why go big when you can go Ultra? Stop by Little Shelter in Huntington to meet her today! 631-368-8770, ext. 21

Check out the next Paw Prints in the issue of July 14.

Paw Prints is generously sponsored by Mark T. Freeley, Esq.


Mark Freely with a furry friend. Photo from Mark Freely

Mark Freeley is the kind of person who likes to get his hands dirty, especially when it comes to helping people in need.

The longtime Stony Brook resident is usually juggling multiple projects, sometimes all in the same day. Whether he’s fighting insurance companies on behalf of his law firm’s clients or picking up rescued dogs, Freeley never shies away from stepping up.

As a young law student at Hofstra University, Freeley got his first taste of how his career could make a difference.

“I was a law clerk for a small firm that did personal injury cases, and I found that I really enjoyed it,” said Freeley, founder of The North Shore Injury Lawyer based in Woodbury. “It’s gratifying to know that I can help people dealing with serious accidents or injuries fight for the insurance money they need.”

This year, he’s also been working with small businesses struggling to access financial assistance in the wake of the pandemic.

Those efforts caught the attention of Gloria Rocchio, president of The Ward Melville Heritage Organization, who also advocates for local businesses.

“I thought it was terrible that so many businesses were being denied support from their insurance companies because of the nature” of the pandemic closures, Rocchio said. “When I found out Mark was involved in fighting for those businesses, I picked up the phone and introduced myself. He has so much compassion for the entire community.”

As it turned out, Rocchio and Freeley often crossed paths while walking their dogs around the T. Bayles Minuse Mill Pond Park. Last summer, Tropical Storm Isaias did significant damage to the site, leaving piles of rubble and a six-figure bill in its wake.

Without prompting, Freeley launched a social media campaign to help restore the park and chipped in some of his own money. 

That’s only the latest example of how Freeley has used social media to create positive change. In 2017, he and his dog Storm earned national attention when Storm rescued a drowning deer on their usual walk. Freeley created a Facebook page, Good Boy Storm, to raise awareness of local animal rescue needs.

While he’s always loved animals, it was Freeley’s daughter that led him to do more. Their weekly visits to see the puppies at the Lake Grove Petco store in her younger years blossomed into them volunteering together with Last Chance Animal Rescue in Southampton.

“We did it every Saturday for eight years, rarely missing a week,” Freeley said. “They’re such wonderful people, and I’ve made some really tight bonds through helping to save animals.”

Last Chance is run entirely by volunteers, and Freeley has done everything from fostering to running adoption events and picking up newly rescued dogs at 6 a.m. each weekend.

“I meet the transport van in Patchogue every Saturday, when they bring up rescued dogs from South Carolina. I’m in charge of all the collars and leashes, and making sure the right dog is going to the right foster family,” he explained. “When that van opens up and you see it full of animals that have been saved from being killed, all that effort is worth it.”

This past year, according to Last Chance, it has facilitated the adoption of 875 dogs and cats. And even though his daughter is now away at college, Freeley keeps coming back. 

“Mark and his daughter Nicole were so faithful right off the bat, and Mark was always willing to take on additional responsibility when needed,” said Judith Langmaid, director of adoption for Last Chance Animal Rescue. “He’s been there to teach other volunteers that come in, run his own supply drives, sponsor fundraising events, and even play golf in the pouring rain for our benefit. He really is a superb individual and we are so grateful to have him.”

Langmaid added that Freeley is humble and would likely shy away from any attention focused on his contributions.

“He’d rather highlight everyone else and encourage others to lend a hand,” she said.

Before congratulating Mark Freeley for being named a TBR News Media Person of the Year, consider fostering or adopting through Last Chance Animal Rescue. An animal can only be brought to Long Island if there is a foster family ready to take it in, so help is always needed. Learn more by calling 631-478-6844 or visit www.lcarescue.org.

Mark Freeley with Storm
Facebook video reaches over 20 million worldwide

By Melissa Arnold

Two years ago, a peaceful walk down by the water in Port Jefferson brought 15 seconds of fame to injury attorney Mark Freeley and his English golden retriever, Storm.

You might have read an article about Freeley and Storm in the New York Times or People magazine, or maybe you’re one of more than 20 million people who saw the pair’s dramatic viral video online.

Storm made a splash in 2017 when he spotted a fawn struggling to stay afloat in the waters of Port Jefferson Harbor. 

Freeley, who lives in Stony Brook, walks at least five miles each day with the retriever and his younger adopted “sister,” Sarah, a mixed breed. On a steamy July morning, they headed to Harborfront Park and Centennial Park in Port Jefferson where they spent time walking along the shore and then started heading to Pirate’s Cove. Suddenly, Storm, who was off-leash, made a beeline into the water. 

Storm is well-disciplined and rarely takes off so suddenly, said Freeley, 55. He recalled being puzzled by his dog’s behavior at the time. 

“Storm never brings anything back to me, not even a tennis ball. So it was weird to see him run off into the water,” he joked. “I grabbed my camera and wanted to see what he was doing, and then I noticed an animal’s head bobbing in and out of the water. Storm hesitated for a minute and looked back at me like, ‘What do I do now, Dad?’ I tried to encourage him and keep him calm.”

Storm swam roughly 100 feet from shore and tenderly grabbed the fawn by the scruff of its neck before bringing it back to dry land. Freeley’s video captures the stunning rescue as he continually cheers, “Good boy, Storm! Bring it in!”

Frank Floridia carries the deer out of the water on July 16

When he reached the shore, Storm nervously let go of the fawn, which ran only a few paces before collapsing with apparent exhaustion. The video ends as Storm gently paws and nudges the animal with his nose in an attempt to revive it.

Many people are unaware of what happened next: Freeley took a close-up video of the male deer and attempted to send it to Frank Floridia at Strong Island Animal Rescue League in Port Jefferson Station, but spotty cell service hindered the call for help. Freeley had no choice but to leave the exhausted animal behind and head back toward the village.

Once Freeley picked up a cell signal, he was able to send the video to Floridia. Together with co-owner Erica Kutzing, Strong Island responds to calls involving injured and abused animals in emergency situations. They’ve rescued dogs, cats, possums, deer and a variety of other animals, sometimes performing several rescues in a day.

Floridia met Freeley in the village, and the pair headed back toward the cove. The trip takes around 20 minutes on foot and is full of slippery, rocky terrain. Kutzing drove to nearby Belle Terre, which provides faster access to the cove.

It wouldn’t be an easy task.

“We went back to the spot where the deer was left, but he got spooked when he heard us coming and actually ran back into the water again,” Floridia said. “We tried to get Storm to retrieve him a second time, but he wouldn’t go, and the deer became distressed — he was probably 100 feet out at least. I knew we either had to go get him or he was going to die.”

Floridia and Freeley waded out into the water, flanking the deer on each side. They attempted to reach for him, but he continued to avoid them. Finally, he grew tired and Floridia was able to secure the fawn with a rope, bringing it to shore. 

Their initial assessment found that the fawn had cuts and scrapes, was infested with ticks and severely dehydrated. Kutzing took the animal to STAR Foundation in Middle Island, where he was promptly named Water and underwent rehabilitation for several months. He was ultimately released back into the wild with a clean bill of health.

Erica Kutzing prepares to transport the deer to the STAR Foundation in Middle Island

“We think he must have come down the cliff in that area, and there was really nowhere else for him to go. He had no choice but to swim,” Floridia explained. “Deer are good swimmers, but this fawn was only a few weeks old. He was so exhausted that he didn’t even put up a fight.”

Storm’s brave rescue graced local and national headlines for several weeks. But Freeley wasn’t ready for their story to end.

In his spare time, Freeley and his family volunteer with Last Chance Animal Rescue based in Southampton. The 501(c)3 charitable organization rescues animals from high-kill shelters in the Carolinas and Georgia on a weekly basis. Upon arrival on Long Island, the animals spend a week with volunteer foster families before being adopted by their new owners. 

“Mark came to us as a volunteer leading adoption events and also offering us pro bono legal support. Once Storm had a following, people would come out to events just to see him and take pictures with him,” said Judith Langmaid, director of adoption for Last Chance Animal Rescue. 

“We couldn’t believe it when the video blew up. We thought it was crazy, but it was so exciting. As it got traction, Mark wanted to do anything he could to promote Last Chance and animal rescue in general. He said, ‘If I can use this for good, I want to do it.’ He’s genuine and dependable. We’re so grateful to have him,” she added.

Freeley began to use Storm’s Facebook page, called Good Boy Storm, to promote Last Chance events and animals in need of adoption. “I saw this as an opportunity to raise awareness for other animals fighting for their lives in kill shelters,” he said. The page has helped connect many animals with forever homes.

“There are very few things in life that you can watch make an immediate difference like this. To see a family come in and adopt an animal that would have been euthanized is a great feeling,” Freeley said.

To learn more about Mark Freeley and Storm, search for Good Boy Storm on Facebook. To learn more about animal rescue efforts in our area or to adopt, visit www.lcarescue.org or call 631-478-6844. Strong Island Animal Rescue League can be reached at 631-403-0598.

Photos from Mark Freeley and Frank Floridia