This past Wednesday was not a boring one for three Estonian workers who saved an animal they thought was a dog from an icy river.

The workers—Rando Kartsepp, Robin Sillamäe and Erki Väli—noticed something was amiss in the river as they were doing dredging work on shore.

There was what appeared to be a dog trapped on the dam and then swimming to get free in the icy Parnu river.


The men cleared a path through the ice for it, then tried to dry it off before putting it in their vehicle to warm up.

One of the workers commented:

"We had to carry him over the slope. He weighed a fair bit."


Eestimaa Loomakaitse Liit/Facebook

They then called an animal rescue hotline and were told to bring the animal to a nearby veterinary clinic.

They were nearly sure that the animal was a dog, but thought that there was a remote chance that it could be a wolf.

Rando said that the "dog" was sleeping peacefully in their vehicle during the ride, even putting its head in his lap. When he needed to stretch his legs, he said, it raised its head for him to do so.


Eestimaa Loomakaitse Liit/Facebook

When they arrived at the clinic veterinarians checked over the animal, but even they failed to recognize that it wasn't a dog.

A local hunter was the one who pointed out that the animal was a wolf, not a domestic dog!


Eestimaa Loomakaitse Liit/Facebook

The Estonian Animal Protection Union posted the story to their Facebook page shortly after the wolf was rescued, saying:

"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."



Eestimaa Loomakaitse Liit/Facebook

The wolf was released back into the wild with a GPS tracking collar after veterinarians confirmed he was healthy. The Estonian Union for the Protection of Animals (EUPA) covered the bill for the wolf's veterinary care.

They told the media:

"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."

People on Facebook were very supportive of the men's actions, many congratulating them on having the heart to help an animal in need, domestic or wild.


Margot Valk/Facebook


Hille Sinivee/Facebook


Anne Haavik/Facebook


Jayne Burns/Facebook


Sarah Jean Jost/Facebook


Truki Vitoria/Facebook


Melissa Bridges/Facebook


Heli Välli/Facebook


Helgi Merila/Facebook

If you want to help with the great work the Estonian Animal Protection Union are doing supporting companion animals and (occasionally) wildlife in distress, you can donate directly to their accounts:

EE742200221052074915 (Swedbank)
EE441010220252652225 (SEB)

The organization's name (in Estonian) is Eestimaa Loomakaitse Liit.

Photo by UX Gun on Unsplash

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