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Firefighters rescue dog that escaped in N.Y., swam across Hudson River to N.J.

Edgewater firefighters found the Leonberger Bernese mix named Bear several days after it escaped its owner during a walk and jumped into the river


By Brendan Rascius
The Charlotte Observer

NEW YORK — A crew of firefighters rescued a dog several days after it ran away from its owner in New York and swam across the Hudson River to New Jersey, officials said.

Ellen Wolpin, 51, took her dog named Bear for a walk in Manhattan on Saturday, Dec. 3, but he managed to slip off his leash and escape, according to

Bear darted down 30 blocks before jumping into the Hudson River, at which point Wolpin assumed he’d disappeared, the outlet reported.

“Honestly on Saturday night, I lost hope,” she told “On Sunday, when I realized no vets and no shelters were calling me, I was like ‘OK, ‘what am I going to do’ because my son kept asking where Bear was. We were going to do the goldfish swap and get him a new dog and tell him that was Bear.”

But three days later, Wolpin received a call from police in New Jersey, saying that they’d found Bear, a Leonberger Bernese mix, according to the outlet. Somehow he’d managed to make it a half-mile across the frigid river.

In the early morning hours of Tuesday, Dec. 6, Bear was spotted below a pier on the New Jersey side of the river, according to a Facebook post from the Edgewater Fire Company.

Firefighters used a boat and donned ice rescue suits in order to fetch the 50-pound dog and bring him to safety, according to WABC. Despite the lengthy and chilly ordeal, he appeared to be in good condition.

“He’s doing great,” Wolpin told the outlet. “You would have never known he had this adventure.”

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