Humans are probably the toughest animals on the planet when compared to the rest of the other animals. We may have tendencies of seeing everything as negative and in this world today, this is truer than it has ever been. There is humanity in all of us and the best thing anyone can do is try and let it show. Sometimes good things do happen and helping others in need becomes important again. Something very humane and sweet happened in the Baltic climate of Estonia. This is a country that has some of the mildest summers and wicked winters that actually freezes rivers. It is populated with wild animals including wolves and sometimes, they wander out of their homes in the forests and come out to where people live. Winter is very cold with temperatures remaining below freezing even during the day for unusually long periods of time. This weather can be challenging even to the animals that live in the forest. Rando Kartsepp, Robin Sillamäe, and Erki Väli were all out dredging for construction work when they noticed something which looked like a dog was trapped in the water in a dam that cuts across the River Parnu. They were concerned and decided to investigate further and try to help the animal.
Something Trapped In The Water
The workers were out, as usual, working on the construction site that is the Sindi Dam. The would do this every single day. It cuts across the Parnu River in Estonia. They noticed that there was something in the water that they could not quite make out. It looked a lot like a dog.
We all love dogs and these men were no different. They knew that there was something wrong. No dog would go out into the water like that voluntarily. They figured he must have been stuck and together, they decided to do something about the situation. Knowing how cold the weather was, they knew that the dog would not survive the cold for that long in the water.
We Have To Save That Dog
The conditions in Estonia can be brutal in winters and the best thing for anyone is to stay warm meaning falling into a river is not how you do it. The workers knew that they had a short time to do something about the dog before it was too late for the dog.
They were not close enough to see him clearly. This prompted them to try and find a way to make sure that they could save him. It was time to have an idea before the situation turned from dire to crucial for the poor animal. They had no idea that what they were about to do would be in news outlets for a reason that had not yet dawned on them.
The best way to get to the dog in time would be to clear a path through the ice and that is what they did. They made sure that they were careful not to spook the animal.
Not that he would have run or anything. He was too stiff to do much but wait for these people to do what they wanted to do. Rando Kartsepp, Robin Sillamäe, and Erki Väli reached the animal and even at this point, they had no idea that there was something odd about him. They just wanted him to be safe and away from the cold. He was a bit heavy as they later said. They carried him out of the water up the slope to the banks.
The first thing that you do when you are cold is to look for a way to get warm. The workers knew that the first thing they would have to do is get the dog warm or he might not make it to the vets for help. The three men then called Animal Rescue to come over and do for the animal what they could not.
But first, they wrapped him in warm towels to make sure that he would be okay until the vets came. While they waited, the animal slept peacefully in the car and even Rando, had the dog rest his head on his lap. Whenever he wanted to stretch, the animal lifted his head to allow that and went back to the same position.
To The Vet
They decided to take the animal to the vet themselves because it would take longer if they waited to have him picked up. The drive to the vet was peaceful. The animal did not do anything to aggravate or provoke anyone. This was something that they would later find to be very unusual.
Up until this point, he was a dog to them. He behaved like a dog and allowed the three men to hold him while they drove to the hospital. That is something a wild animal would never do. At that time, they had no explanation for this because they had not noticed that this was not a domesticated canine. The explanation turned out to be something they would have never thought of.
The Specialists Had No Idea Either
It might be the similarity that dogs have with wolves or the fact that they were too preoccupied trying to make sure that the animal was not harmed, but the specialists did not know that he was not a dog either
The animal just lay there and did not give anyone a hard time or behave in any way that would have indicated he was wild. Talk about flying under the radar. He made a very convincing dog that day.
It’s Actually A Wolf
To be fair, the vets were not that oblivious. They suspected that the ‘dog’ might not be all dog but they did not mind him because he seemed to be completely docile.
Their suspicions were confirmed when an unnamed local hunter took a look at the animals and told them that he thought it was a dog. He happened to be familiar with the wolves in that region and told them he was a male wolf, about a year old or so.
Animal Protection Unit
The information about the strange behavior of the wolf was what put the whole thing into perspective. This is because of how humble and docile he had been.
The Estonian Union for the Protection of Animals said that the wolf had low blood pressure and that is the reason why he did not behave aggressively when the workers found and carried him out of the river. He was calm all the way and that wasn’t normal for wild animals.
Wolves Don’t Make Good Pets
Dogs have been with humans for way too long and even though they are in the same family as wolves, wolves are not domestic. The years of natural selection have made dogs docile and friendly to humans.
The thing about the wolf that they rescued looking like a dog is because sometimes, the dogs and wolves interbreed and it was also a little young to distinguish it properly. Plus, it was very calm when they took it out of the water.
Wolves Raise Their Pups as a Community
Whereas the dogs we have will raise their own ‘children’ on their own, wolves tend to have more than one teacher and protector in their pack. They are taught and protected by the pack as a whole.
There is even a phenomenon where the female wolves will go through pseudo-pregnancy when one of them is pregnant and they feel the obligation to care for all the young ones in the pack. A unique way to live their lives in the wild.
They Are Not Very Good Hunters
They may be fierce and intimidating but they have to hunt in packs to maximize their chances of catching anything significant. Alone, a wolf will not have the acumen and skill to be efficient enough to catch anything without stumbling through the process.
They, therefore, combine all their skills as pack of wolves to make sure that when they hunt, they increase their chances from an individual 6% success rate to something better.
You Can Get Kicked Out for Being a Bad Hunter
One of the leading causes of wolf extinction in the wild is other wolves. The pack is very specific in how they act. The pack demands that the members of the pack be very efficient within the group or risk being kicked out.
When a wolf does not hold up to the demands, they will either kick it out or harm it till it is no longer alive. This is very common and it is unknown mostly among people.
They Keep Away From Us
It is not common for wolves to just show up where people live even though we frequently show up in their homes and drive them out. They have ways of surviving because it is the instinct that guides almost everything that they do in the wild.
They have ways of keeping warm that include being evolved to have thick fur for the winter nights. They will have no body-heat loss through their fur.
The Heat System
Snow will not melt when it comes into contact with a wolf’s fur. The wolf will curl up at night and use the long tail to cover the nose. They tend to lose heat through the nose and the paws and the tongue.
So basically, they stay quiet, cover their noses and curl up their feet. This keeps them warm because they breathe out hot air, it gets filtered by the tail and then they inhale it back in before it gets cold.
Food Is Warmth Too
Finding food in the winter is not easy and that is why the wolves will store extra layers of fat when the weather is less harsh. This means that when they emerge in the Spring, they will eat whatever they can find while they get some play time in the sun.
They take precautions to stay safe and warm in winter. Even with all these precautions, there are cases of wolves that get stuck like the one they found.
Wolf Was Treated
When the vets were handed the wolf, they did what they would do for a dog in the same situation and it worked. They made sure that they were vigilant to make sure that no complications arose while they were working.
The animal had been in the warmth of the car and this had kept it safe from freezing more than it already was when they found it. The hypothermia was setting in when they took it out of the water and he was lucky that they did.
Blood Pressure Concerns
When they discovered that the ‘dog’ was not the regular kind that they were used too, they started to worry. They were told that the wolf was docile because he had low blood pressure and that is why his demeanor was that soft.
Now that they were nursing him back to health, what was going to happen when his blood pressure got back to normal? That was the question they wanted an answer to.
Better Cage Wolf
“At first, he was so done in for he didn’t resist at all. We simply kept him in this room. But once he started to get an idea of the situation, I felt things might quickly take a turn for the dangerous. We got him into a cage,” clinic director Tarvo Markson later told a newspaper.
They continued to nurse it back to health, with the intention of releasing it into the wild. And they did release him back into the world.
What To Do, What To Do
After the animal had been rescued, the Estonian Animal Protection Union posted this story to Facebook. It was a challenge for the union to think of what to do with an animal that was rescued in these circumstances, that may have been a dog or wolf.
But they figure it out and fitted him with a collar with GPS tracking before they released him back into the wild. The National Environmental Agency aided in the process.
People were very happy with what the construction workers had done and congratulated them. There were comments of relief, humor and also gratitude that they had been brave enough to venture out into a frozen river to rescue the wolf, as they had.
“God bless you for caring and rescuing this great sentient creature of God,” one comment said. Another added, “They may not know their animals, but that’s great!”
Wolf Goes Home
“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,” The Estonian Union for the Protection of Animals told the media.
They also paid for the bills of the dog and what it had cost to keep him alive and make sure that he was taken back to the wild.