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A dog from Montana swims from New York City to New Jersey in the Hudson River



Billings, Montana – Going from Montana to New York City is a big change for a puppy and one little guy who had an adventure fit for a movie recently made national news.

Bear, a Leoberner, gave his new owners a big scare when he went missing for several days and had to swim across the Hudson River from New York City to New Jersey in the cold.

Bear was born in June in the town of Harlowton, Montana. He is a mix of a Burnese Mountain dog and a Leonberger. He went on his first big adventure to meet his new family the day after Thanksgiving. After a few days in New York, he slipped out of his collar and went on another adventure.

“I was walking with him to get a harness and we were walking across the street. He had a collar on, and he stopped in the middle of the street. I pulled one way, and he pulled the other, and then his collar came off, and then he just ran and ran and ran. So, he ran about a mile and a half, along the Hudson River on the Westside highway and then jumped in the water on 110th and swam a mile to New Jersey. And it was really nasty out, so we were really terrified,” said Ellen Wolpin, Bear’s owner.

Wolpin called 911 right away, but after searching for days, she almost gave up hope.

“Patrol boats were out looking for him they couldn’t see him; they couldn’t find him. Then two days later, I got a phone call from the police department in New Jersey that they had found him,” added Wolpin.

Bear’s breeders in Montana put a microchip in him, which made it possible for him to make that call.

“That microchip got them home. We got a call at three o’clock in the morning from Edgewater police department in New Jersey and the microchip was linked back to us. Because we were the breeders and ones that installed the chip,” said Todd King, owner of Big Sky Bernels.

A process that King says is very important.”None of the pups leave our house without being microchipped and I’m really happy that we have that rule. This is the only time we’ve ever had a call, but Bear was found because of it,” added King.

King says, “Leoberners are tough,” but the 6-month-old puppy even surprised him with how strong it was.”With the water being so darn cold there, I’m not sure exactly how cold it is, but I’m sure it’s in the 40’s this time of year. And that’s a long time for that pup to be in that water but, he made it,” King added.

Bear will start training to become an emotional support dog as soon as he gets back from his big trip.”My son has a seizure disorder so we’re going to work with bear to start being an alert dog when Zach seizes. Right now, bear follows Zach around, sleeps in bed with him and Zach just sits there and loves this dog,” said Wolpin.

She briefly doubted that the bond between Bear and her son would be able to grow when Bear left.”I never really got my head around what happened honestly. By the time I started thinking about what happened, I got the call that he was found, which set off another thing of how could this be true? How did I get so lucky?” Wolpin added.

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