Shivering ‘dog’ saved by rescuers from icy river turns out to be a wolf

A shivering ‘dog’ rescued from an icy river turned out not to be a dog after all, as thought by the group of young construction workers who rushed to its help. The group of men had spotted the panic-stricken animal in the middle of the frozen Pärnu River, in Estonia, according to a resurfaced account of the story.

Without wasting any time, the men started pushing ice chunks away and cleared the path for the animal, who had just enough strength left to swim unaided to the shore.

The animal, initially thought to be a dog, was stiff from exhaustion and freezing cold, with its fur covered with ice.

Trying to keep the “dog” warm, the workers wrapped it in a blanket and brought it in a car, before they called the Estonian Animal Protection Association for help.

As indicated by the organisation, which recounted the story in a Facebook post in February 2019, the workers drove the animal to a pet clinic in Pärnu for a medical check-up.

During the trip, one of the workers recalled how docile the animal was, saying it even fell asleep on his legs.

As soon as the vets saw the animal, however, they started suspecting the men had saved a young wolf rather than a dog.

A local hunter confirmed their suspicions, and the animal association advised the vets to muzzle the wild animal.

The wolf, born one year prior, was set with a GPS tracker and released into the wilderness after being nursed back to health for two days.

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It survived the incident thanks to the intervention of the workers, the vets later said, as it would have likely drowned without their help.

The calm behaviour of the wolf with its rescuers was likely due to the severe drop in blood pressure it experienced falling into the river.

A spokesperson for the animal organisation commended the workers and the vets who took care of the wolf even after learning it was not a docile dog.

They said: “We are so happy for the outcome of the story, and wish to thank all the participants – especially these men who rescued the wolf and the doctors of the clinic who were not afraid to treat and nurture the wild animal.”

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Wolves play a big part in Estonian culture, as in 2018 they were chosen as the national animals of Estonia by several associations – including the Estonian Nature Society and Tallinn Zoo.

Marju Kõivupuu, an Estonian folklorist, previously told Estonia’s public broadcaster ERR: “The wolf is a natural part of our environment and leaves no one indifferent.

“The wolf is one of the most popular animals in our folk tales, there are over 500 names and stories written down about this animal.”

There are some 200 wolves living in Estonia, split among some 25 packs.

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