Baltic, the rescued dog, recovers his sea legs

A year after he was plucked from an ice floe off Poland's coast, Baltic the dog has found his sea legs again.

Baltic was rescued a year ago on Tuesday after an odyssey during which he floated on an ice sheet down the Vistula River, then 15 miles (25 kilometers) out to sea. The rescue of the shivering, frightened mutt gained worldwide attention.

Officials from the port city of Gdynia visited the dog Tuesday to celebrate his rescue's anniversary, offering him new feeding bowls.

Adam Buczynski, the dog's rescuer and now his master, said Baltic is a faithful companion to him. "He even accompanies me to the bar for beers," he said.

The furry tan and black dog may be off the ice, but he is still out regularly on the Baltic Sea aboard the Baltica, a research ship.

Buczynski said the dog — now the ship's pet and mascot — shows signs of anxiety when the sea is rough but sails around happily with the crew when it is calm.

The ship is leaving on a two-month mission Thursday, meaning that Baltic will be separated from his master and left in the care of friends on land.

Baltic was rescued in January 2010 in subfreezing temperatures after the ship's crew spotted him floating at sea trapped on an ice floe. The rescue was difficult because the shivering and terrified dog kept falling into the icy water.

It's not clear where the dog's journey began, but Baltic was seen two days before his rescue floating down the Vistula River. Firefighters tried but failed to save him.

After his rescue at sea, several people came forward to adopt Baltic, but the dog rejected them all. In one case, a family made a long trip by car from the Czech Republic in the vain hope that he was their lost puppy.