Linkedin Share

Heroic Firefighters Brave Icy Waters To Rescue Service Dog Missing for 2 Days

Linkedin Share

Ellen Wolpin and her 20-year-old son, Zack, recently added a new member to their tri-state area family. “Bear,” a 6-month-old Bernese mountain dog and Leonberger mix, came into their lives in late November.

Wolpin got the 50-pound pup as a service animal for her son, Zack, who has frequent seizures. The dog will be large at full size, but now he’s small and young and green, and he caused quite a kerfuffle the first weekend of December when he led Wolpin, strangers and first responders on a long chase.

On Dec. 3, as Wolpin took Bear out for a walk, the pup got spooked by something. As they crossed a street, he stopped in the middle of it, and Wolpin grabbed his collar to keep him from leaping in front of an oncoming car.

Somehow Bear managed to break free from her grip — one eyewitness named Margaret claims he broke his collar, according to the comments on an article published by a local Upper West Side blog.

The pair had been about 30 blocks from the Hudson river, but Bear made short work of the distance. Several good Samaritans tried to help stop the fleeing pup, but none of them were able to stop him, and he disappeared into the river.

"God … Condemns It": Ex-Astrologer Dismantles Horoscopes, Warns of Divination's Dangers

“The owner and I had both tried 911 but were told it was not an emergency, until we called because Bear was in the water,” Margaret wrote in her comment. “At that point emergency boats were dispatched. My husband lost sight of Bear (brown puppy swimming in choppy brown river water…) before the boats arrived.”

But they didn’t find him that night, or the next day.

According to The New York Times, Wolpin had to go home and tell her son what happened and thought she’d likely have to get a new dog for her son.

“I told him, ‘Bear went swimming,'” she said.

Two days after Bear disappeared, someone heard barking near Edgewater, New Jersey, on the other side of the river. Somehow, the 6-month-old puppy had paddled the nearly one-mile distance across.

The good Samaritan called the Edgewater Fire Department to report hearing a dog barking “in distress” at around 1:00 a.m., and a boat went out to investigate.

“The tide was low, and it was difficult trying to get where we were trying to get,” Chief Joseph Chevalier with the Edgewater Fire Department said.

Happy Ending: Precious Stolen Pet Reunited with Owner Just in Time for Christmas

Divers spotted Bear under a pier, but he still wasn’t interested in coming out of hiding.

“They saw the dog, but the dog kept running,” Chevalier said. “It was scared, obviously.”

Finally as the tide rose, two firefighters in wetsuits went under the pier where the dog was hiding and convinced him to get in the boat — and by that time, he was ready to get out of there.

“The dog was literally standing at the end of the pier … It looked like a dog statue,” Edgewater Firefighter Thomas Quinton said, according to Inside Edition. “It was like, it was ready to go, he was tired of being underneath there.”

The collarless dog was taken to a local vet who was able to find a microchip and contact the dog’s breeder, who was then able to contact Wolpin.

Bear is back home now, safe and sound and clean, to everyone’s delight. The poor skittish pup has quite a road ahead of him, though, if he is to really become a service dog.

“We got him a bath,” Wolpin added, “so he no longer smells like the Hudson.”

“We’ve had dogs for the past 25 years but none that jumped into the Hudson and definitely none that swam across,” she told North Jersey. “I didn’t even think that was possible.”

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

Submit a Correction →

Linkedin Share
, , , , , ,