'Miracle dog' recovering after he was stranded for days on Detroit River

Ariana Taylor | The Detroit News | 8:47 pm EST February 21, 2021

More than $10,000 has been raised by donors for a "miracle dog" who was found Saturday after four freezing days stranded along or on the ice on the Detroit River, according to a group raising funds for his care.

The dog, named Alfonso by rescuers, was captured Saturday afternoon after four days in frigid temperatures by a boater from Windsor, Ontario. The rescue followed an international effort that involved Americans and Canadians on both sides of the Detroit River.

The donations will be used for the dog's medical care at the Woodhaven Animal Hospital. Remaining funds will be used to help other animals in need, said the Animal Resource Funding Foundation, which helps shelters and rescue groups with medical care and supplies for animals.

The 1-year-old male dog was shown recovering at the  animal hospital in a blue and beige sweater Sunday morning in a Facebook update. Because Alfonso's fur was so matted by the snow and ice during his dangerous trek on the river, most of it was shaved off, staff said.

The Animal Resource Funding Foundation  said the pup was "up and walking around the clinic" on Sunday. It said he had begun hyperbaric oxygen therapy and he was on pain medicine and IV fluids for pancreatitis.

Woodhaven Animal Hospital staff cares for a small dog who was rescued on Feb. 20, 2021 after being stranded on ice on the Detroit River for four days.
Patricia Muccianti Odette, Facebook page

Patricia Trevino with the River Rouge Animal Shelter said the dog, whose owner isn't known, survived four bitterly cold days on the ice and other areas along the river in Ecorse, near the John D. Dingell Park.

“It’s an amazing story of survival,” she told WDIV-TV. Trevino said her crew watched the dog every day and said a coyote at some point apparently chased the marooned canine farther onto the river.

Woodhaven Animal Hospital staff cares for a small dog who was rescued on Feb. 20, 2021 after being stranded on ice on the Detroit River for four days.
Patricia Muccianti Odette, Facebook page

Alfonso’s rescue involved LaSalle Fire Services in Ontario, BASF Corp. and other local groups, according to the foundation and other posts about the rescue.

But it was Jude Mead of J&J Marine in Windsor, Ontario, who rescued Alfonso off of a Detroit River island Saturday, according to a Facebook post from Woodhaven Mayor Patricia Odette.

Dr. Lucretia Greear, a veterinarian at Woodhaven Animal Hospital caring for the dog, said he is recovering from frostbite to his paw pads, dehydration and pancreatitis. Alfonso is receiving IV fluids as part of his care, Greear said in a Facebook update.

Woodhaven is urging the many people who have been calling the hospital inquiring about adopting Alfonso to call the River Rouge Animal Shelter with any questions or concerns.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Originally Published 7:34 pm EST February 21, 2021
Updated 8:47 pm EST February 21, 2021
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