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Dog’s Epic Journey Across the Hudson River: Miraculous Rescue

Innocent puppy face after being rescued. Image by Edgewater Fire Company

The service dog Bear embarked on an epic journey that stretched over nearly three days and crossed the frigid Hudson River. It is a heartwarming tale of tenacity and survival. This courageous mix of Leonberger and Bernese Mountain showed that even Bear the dog was capable of overcoming great challenges.

A Slippery Escape

Dog being fed by fire marshals after rescued. Image by EdgeWater Fire Company via Facebook.

Bear the dog’s epic journey began innocently enough when Ellen Wolpin welcomed him into her family as a service dog for her son. During a routine trip to Manhattan to find a better-fitting harness, Bear managed to slip out of his leash and darted down West Side Highway near West 86th Street. Without hesitation, he leaped into the frigid waters around West 110th Street, leaving Wolpin in shock and despair.

“I thought he was gone for good. We were so upset, devastated this weekend,” Wolpin tearfully recounted to WABC. The sudden severance of the bond between a family and their beloved pet left them reeling with emotions.

Bear the Dog Laying on the Carpet. Image by EdgeWater Fire Company via Facebook.

As the days passed, hope dwindled. But then, across the Hudson River in Edgewater, New Jersey, a call came in to the EdgeWater Fire Company. A dog’s persistent barking near the riverbank caught their attention. Firefighters rushed to the scene and discovered Bear huddled under a pier at Independence Harbor, just half a mile from where he had initially plunged into the water in New York.

Firefighter Tom Quinton and his team sprang into action. Using a boat, they carefully retrieved Bear from beneath the dock. With patience, they coaxed him toward the rescue vessel, offering food and water. Eventually, Bear was safely aboard.

Against the Odds

Innocent dog who swam through Hudson River. Image by EdgeWater Fire Company via Facebook.

Bear endured bone-chilling temperatures that were barely above freezing during his three-day trek. Bear proved to be incredibly resilient. Because of his unique combination of Bernese Mountain dog and Leonberger dog genes, Bear demonstrated that he had innate swimming ability, even though the cold Hudson River would test the mettle of the hardest swimmers.

The American Kennel Club describes Leonbergers as “expert swimmers with webbed feet for serious water work,” highlighting Bear’s natural aptitude for managing challenging swimming conditions.


Dog After Being Rescued. Image by EdgeWater Fire Company via Facebook.

Bear was adopted from Bozeman, Montana, and the Wolpin family was thrilled to hear of the dog’s amazing journey. Bear was reunited with his loved ones as soon as the animal hospital gave him the all-clear. “My son and the dog are fighters, in my opinion, and they have given us a lifetime of happiness,” Wolpin said. They are a fantastic team. Bear was unfazed by his ordeal and remained incredible even after it was over.

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