A stranded dog in the middle of the partially frozen Detroit River on the U.S.-Canada border for four days is now safe after an international rescue effort.
The saga started when wildlife photographers in a park in Ecorse, Mich., accidentally spotted a shaggy blonde dog stuck on an ice floe out on the river, according to CNN.
Immediately, animal lovers were deeply concerned. Patricia Trevino, director of the River Rouge Animal Shelter in Michigan, put out calls for help, trying to find a way to reach the dog.
“That’s a little life out there, we had to fight for him,” Trevino said. “We had to fight for him.”
She got in touch with the coast guard and local fire departments, but no one was willing to make the dangerous attempt to retrieve the dog.
Somehow, the pup clung on, despite coyotes making attempts to reach him across the ice. After disappearing from sight for a worrying period, the dog was spotted again near a small island in the middle of the river.
And that’s where Canadian Jude Mead found him.
Mead, who lives in LaSalle, Ont., a town on the river just south of Windsor, is the director of J&J Marine.
Having heard about the dog’s plight, he took a boat out on the river to search for him, and picked up the dog near Mud Island.
“We just went out in that area and looked around,” he told CNN. “Really, it didn’t take long to find him.”
Mead delivered the dog into Trevino’s grateful hands. Photos posted by Trevino show the dog huddled in blankets in her car.
Now, this resilient dog is being taken care of at Woodhaven Animal Hospital on the Michigan side of the border.
Dr. Lucretia Greear told CNN that when he arrived, the dog had “pretty severe pancreatitis” and was “pretty severely dehydrated.” He had to receive pressured oxygen therapy.
Veterinarians say his matted fur was one of the things that kept him alive for four days and three nights in below freezing temperatures.
In an update on their Facebook on Sunday, Greear said the dog — now missing his tangles of curly fur — is doing well.
“He hasn’t vomited or anything, he’s keeping food down real well,” she said. He is still on IV fluids, but is expected to be fine.
Now that his matted fur is gone, they’re keeping a sweater on him, she added.
“I’m telling you, this dog had a guardian angel,” Trevino said of the dog’s miraculous survival story. “I’m convinced of that.”