January 30, 2010 in Nation/World

Rescued dog joins ship crew

‘Baltic’ taken off ice floe floating down Poland river
Monika Scislowska Associated Press
Associated Press photo

In this photo taken Tuesday, Adam Buczynski carries a dog found floating on an ice floe 15 miles off the Polish Baltic Sea coast in Gdynia, Poland.
(Full-size photo)

WARSAW, Poland – A dog rescued from the Baltic Sea after braving a 75-mile journey on an ice floe is making himself at home on the Polish research ship whose crew rescued him, the captain said Friday.

Jerzy Wosachlo, the captain of the Baltica, said the dog slept on a blanket in the ship’s laboratory, then shared a sausage breakfast with the crew. He said the dog often sticks close to the mechanic who saved him but also has started moving around as he pleases, enjoying the company of people.

“We have enrolled him as a crew member,” Wosachlo said.

Nicknamed “Baltic,” the dog – furry and friendly – will continue in that capacity unless his owner is found, the captain said. The ship is preparing to sail Feb. 10 on a brief mission – with the dog, unless he is afraid, Wosachlo said.

With the ship in the port of Gdynia on Friday, the black-and-brown mongrel was occasionally taken on land for walks.

President Lech Kaczynski, himself a dog owner, sent the crew a letter praising its action in saving the dog’s life.

“Such gestures make our world a better one,” Kaczynski wrote.

The dog was first seen Jan. 23 on the Vistula River, 60 miles inland, drifting on a piece of ice past the city of Grudziadz. Local firefighters said they failed to save him then.

He was spotted again Monday, 15 miles from land in the Baltic Sea, when he was rescued by the Baltica’s crew.

The rescue was difficult because the dog kept falling into the water. Fearing he could drown, the crew lowered a pontoon to the water and the mechanic, Adam Buczynski, managed to grab the dog by the scruff of the neck and pull him to safety.

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