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“Dog” Rescued From Freezing River Is Actually A Wolf

There seem to be plenty of examples of mistaken identities in the animal kingdom. There was that man who was shocked to find his adorable fluffy “puppies” were, in fact, Asiatic black bears. (A gaffe that appears to be more common than you might think.) And then, there was the woman whose “Belgium Shepherds” turned out to be a pack of wild jackals.

The latest “imposter” is a Eurasian wolf masquerading as a doggo, as reported by Estonian news site Postimees. The poor creature was found cold and stuck in a frigid river north of Pärnu, a resort city in southwestern Estonia, by a group of constructors working on the Sindi dam.

The men managed to clear a path through the ice and rescue the big pup, who they wrapped in a towel and took to their car to warm up. It was then they called animal rescue, who told them to take the “dog” to a nearby clinic for medical care, which they proceeded to do, all the while thinking the recipient of their attention was a dog – or Canis lupus familiaris. Indeed, it was only when they arrived at the animal center that they realized the animal was, in fact, a wolf.

Describing the endeavor, one of the men involved, Rando Kartsepp, told Postimees, “We had to carry him over the slope. He weighed a fair bit.” During the car ride to the center, Kartsepp told reporters, “He was calm, slept on my legs. When I wanted to stretch them, he raised his head for a moment.”

By the time the wolf arrived at the animal center, his blood pressure had dropped (possibly explaining his docile behavior), the Estonian Union for the Protection of Animals (EUPA) told BBC News.

As for his true identity, that was only confirmed when a local hunter told the men they had rescued a young male wolf, only a year old or so. Vets, concerned that the pup would be less docile on his waking, put him in a cage after treatment.

Fortunately, he made a quick recovery and within the day he was fitted with a radio tracker by researchers at the national environmental agency and discharged back into the wild.

“We are so happy for the outcome of the story, and wish to thank all the participants,” the EUPA added.