Thursday, February 4, 2010

Chilly Dog Safe After Long Float in Baltic

Baltic, the spunky dog who floated at least 75 miles (120 kilometres) on an ice floe, has a new owner: The seaman who rescued him.

The Associated Press reports Wojciech Pelczarski of the Sea Fisheries Institute in Gdynia said the decision was made after the dog rejected six people who had claimed to be his original owner. Pelczarski, whose institute co-owns the research ship "Baltica" that rescued the dog and nicknamed him, says Baltic is sociable, affectionate and was getting his first bath since his icy ordeal because his fur was still salty.

The dog's new master is Adam Buczynski, who pulled him to safety from an ice sheet in the Baltic Sea last week.

A frightened, shivering dog was rescued after floating at least 75 miles on an ice floe down Poland's Vistula River and into the Baltic Sea. Now his saviors have to figure out who really owns him.

Four people already have claimed him, but so far rescuers say there has been no wagging tail of joy from the miracle dog they named Baltic. The dog's frozen odyssey came as Poland suffers through a winter cold snap, with temperatures dipping to minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit.

The thick-furred male dog was found adrift last week 15 miles out in the Baltic Sea by the crew of a Polish ship of ocean scientists doing research.

One of the researchers said the rescue was difficult and at one point it seemed the dog had drowned. It was really a tough struggle as the dog kept slipping into the water and crawling back on top of the ice. At one point, it vanished underwater, under the ship, and thought it was the end, but it emerged again and crawled on an ice sheet.

The crew lowered a pontoon to the water and a crew member managed to grab the dog by the scruff of his neck and pull him to safety.

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