Workers rushed to the aid of a dog trapped in a freezing river on Wednesday (February 20) – only to find out the distressed animal was, in fact, a wolf.
The kind-hearted men, from Estonia, were working on the Sindi dam on the Pärnu river when they saw the ‘dog’ struggling in the freezing water.
They immediately rushed to rescue the distressed animal, clearing a path through the ice before taking it to an animal clinic for medical care. It was there they were told they had been carrying a wolf.
As reported by the BBC, vets had some suspicions over the ‘dog’s’ identity but it was only when a local hunter confirmed the animal was a young male wolf that the men realised the true extent of their rescue mission.
The Estonian Animal Protection Union posted to Facebook soon after the rescue, describing how they promised to pay all the medical bills once they reached the animal clinic.
They wrote (translated to English):
When we got to the shore, the poor wolf was very exhausted, hypothermic and frozen. Young men quickly ran into the car, brought a towel and dried the animal. Then he took him to a warm car and called the animal protection Union.
It was also a challenge for the union to think about what to do in the morning at 8 with a dog in [distress], who could also have been a wolf.
The three men who rescued the wolf – Rando Kartsepp, Robin Sillamäe and Erki Väli – spoke to Estonian newspaper Postimees about the rescue and explained how they cleared a path in the ice for the distressed animal.
They then pulled the animal, who was stiff from the cold and had ice in its fur, out of the water and wrapped it in a towel before putting it in their car to warm up.
It was swimming on its own, we cleared a path for it through the ice. We had to carry him over the slope. He weighed a fair bit.
The workers called animal rescue once the wolf was safely out of the water, and were told to take it to the Terveks animal clinic in Pärnu. After an uneventful car journey, with the wolf sleeping peacefully, they were informed shortly after arrival at the vets that the ‘dog’ was in fact a wolf.
A local hunter confirmed the vet’s suspicions about the wolf, and informed the men they had actually rescued – and cuddled – a wolf. Kartsepp described the experience as ‘new’.
Because of this shocking new information, staff decided to put the wolf in a cage once it had received treatment – just in case.
Thankfully, the wolf recovered within the day and was released back into the wild after being fitted with a GPS collar by researchers from the national environmental agency.