WARSAW, Poland (AP) - A frightened, shivering dog was rescued after floating at least 75 miles (120 kilometers) on an ice floe down Poland's Vistula River and into the Baltic Sea, officials said Thursday.
Now his saviors just have to figure out who really owns him.
Four people have already claimed him, but so far rescuers say
there's been no wagging tail of joy from the miracle dog they
The dog's frozen odyssey came as Poland suffers through a winter
cold snap, with temperatures dipping to below minus 4 degrees
Fahrenheit (minus 20 Celsius).
The thick-furred male dog was found adrift Monday 15 miles (24
kilometers) out in the Baltic Sea by the crew of the Baltica, a
Polish ship of ocean scientists carrying out research.
Researcher Natalia Drgas said Thursday the rescue was difficult
and at one point it seemed the dog had drowned.
"It was really a tough struggle. It kept slipping into the
water and crawling back on top of the ice. At one point it vanished
underwater, under the ship and we thought it was the end, but it
emerged again and crawled on an ice sheet," Drgas said.
At that point, the crew lowered a pontoon down to the water and
a crew member managed to grab the dog by the scruff of his neck and
pull him to safety.
Too weak to shake off the frigid water, Baltic was dried and
wrapped in blankets. After he warmed up, he was massaged, fed and
soon got on his feet to seek company, Drgas said.
A firefighter in Grudziadz, on the Vistula river 60 miles (100
kilometers) inland from the Bay of Gdansk, told The Associated
Press the dog was spotted Saturday floating on ice through the
city. Firefighters tried to save him but could not approach the dog
due to shifting ice sheets, said the officer, who spoke on
condition of anonymity.
The Baltica crew, now moored in the port city of Gdynia, have
been searching for the dog's owners, ship captain Jerzy Wosachlo
said. So far four people have claimed him, but Baltic has not
claimed any of them back, Drgas said.
The dog didn't welcome the first two people to come for him,
keeping his distance and showing no recognition toward a couple on
Wednesday and a woman on Thursday who both said he was theirs. Two other would-be owners were still en route to Gdynia for a possible reunion.
Once in port, the brown-and-black mongrel was taken to a
veterinarian, who found him in surprisingly good condition and
estimated his age at around 5 or 6 years old. Veterinarian
Aleksandra Lawniczak said the 44-pound (20-kilogram) dog was
clearly frightened but in strikingly good shape and had suffered no
A dog with thick fur and a layer of fat can survive such cold
conditions for as long as eight days if it has water to drink,
She described Baltic as a friendly dog who was clearly well
treated before getting lost.
Wosachlo said the research team is prepared to adopt Baltic if
his original owner is never found.