Lifestyle & Human Interest

Rescuers Think They're Saving Dog from Icy River, But It Turns Out To Be a Wolf


If you’re a kind-hearted person, seeing an animal in distress is troubling. You feel compelled to step in and help, whether that animal is domesticated or not.

That’s why people put out wildlife cameras to keep tabs on local populations, help ducks cross the road, form networks to watch for and return lost pets, and advocate for proper animal care.

Sometimes it’s a little difficult to distinguish between friend or foe, or at least, between friendly or feral. There are so many varieties of dogs, for example, that people mistake other critters for dogs all the time.

This one is understandable. Fuzzy, grizzled coat, four legs, a tail — all in all, this critter looked incredibly dog-like. So dog-like, in fact, that a trio of construction workers saw the “dog” struggling in the water at the dam they were working on and had to help.

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This incident took place in Estonia, at the Sindi dam, where Rando Kartsepp, Robin Sillamäe and Erki Väli were working. The men saw the canine struggling through the water, which was a slush of frigid water and ice.

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“It was swimming on its own, we cleared a path for it through the ice,” Rando Kartsepp told Postimees.

The large critter was in no state to be picky about the sort of help he received and seemed grateful for their help. Because of them, he was able to get out of the dam.

The poor animal had ice chunks all through his coat, so they tried to dry him off and knew they needed to get him medical attention. That meant they had to carry the stunned “pooch,” who didn’t resist their efforts.

“We had to carry him over the slope,” Kartsepp said. “He weighed a fair bit.”

They loaded him into the car, and even there he didn’t seem too bothered.

“He was calm, slept on my legs,” Kartsepp continued. “When I wanted to stretch them, he raised his head for a moment.”

Apparently, not even the veterinarians at the animal hospital realized that this was an actual wild wolf they were dealing with, and it took a real expert, a hunter, to clear the matter up for them all.

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“The experience was new,” Kartsepp said, after being told that the dog was actually a wolf. “We hope he will be fine.”

The wolf was determined to be young, about a year old. His young age and the fact that he was in such bad shape are probably the only reasons he seemed as docile as he did — but in the end, it worked out for everyone.

“At first, he was so done in for he didn’t resist at all,” Tarvo Markson with the animal clinic said. “We simply kept him in this room. But once he started to get an idea of the situation, I felt things might quickly take a turn for the dangerous. We got him into a cage.”

According to BBC, the Estonian Union for the Protection of Animals covered all costs and made sure the wolf was collared and could be tracked before it was released back into the wild.

“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,” they said.

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