JEFFERSON, WI (CBS Local) - A bartender in Wisconsin is being hailed as a hero after grabbing his canoe and paddling out to save a drowning goat.
Mike Soleska was working at a tavern in Jefferson on June 1 when a man ran into the bar pleading for help. "Call 911, one of the goats fell in the river," the man said to Soleska, according to KFVS.
Mike Soleska jumped into action Friday evening upon hearing that one of the goats on the island in the Rock River, just south of the Jefferson dam, had fallen into the water. Soleska grabbed his canoe and paddled to the struggling goat, named Elsa, and helped guide her to the east side of the island where she was able to get onto land. Shown above, Soleska looks at the three goats to make sure they're OK following the rescue. Elsa is the reddish-brown one. (photo credit: the Daily Jefferson County Union)
The bartender told reporters that the nearby Rock River has been much higher than it normally is and likely caused the grazing goat to fall in. Soleska, who keeps a canoe in a garage near the tavern, knew he had to act fast to save the animal.
"I ran over to the garage next door and I grabbed my paddle... I got a yolk on there and I ran down to the dam and there were a couple fishermen who helped me get into the water and then I paddled over to them," Soleska told the Daily Jefferson County Union.
Elsa the goat is one of three goats placed by city officials on a small island in the Rock River. Their job is to eat up all the invasive plant species that may grow there.
Elsa's pals Buddy and Anna looked on from the shore, as the heroic bartender managed to grab the goat and get it back on land. "I was against the wall, the water kept pushing me. I had the goat in one hand, didn't want to squish it," Soleska explained. "Once I got to shore it was all happy again."
Elsa The Goat pictured with City of Jefferson Mayor Dale Oppermann after the rescue. (Credit: City Of Jefferson Wi)
One of the goats was given a new fashion accessory after the river rescue, a life preserver. City caretakers also put up a fence to keep the goats out of trouble in the future. Meanwhile, Soleska says video of his good deed was posted on the Internet and has made his new reputation as the goat saver of Jefferson "snowball" since that night.
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