One-year-old Samoyed “Aika” had strayed far from her owner and village, wandering near the “Alexander Sannikov” icebreaker.
Video from the scene shows the moment the vessel’s crew decided to rescue the animal – fearing she could be hurt by moving ships or have died on the ice.
“We investigated all options for lifting the animal from the ice, and placed a ceremonial ladder which the dog used to get on board,” captain’s assistant Yevgeny Nagibin said in a video recording obtained by Reuters. “Later we used mobile communications to contact locals, found the dog owner, and a few hours later the animal was safely returned to the village.”
Aika can be seen carefully stepping around rugged ice chunks to step up to the ladder as sailors whistle and throw down treats.
According to The Moscow Times, the Gazpromneft-Yamal workers placed Aika on a hovercraft to return her to her home village of Mys Kamennyy.
The dog’s owner, Svetlana Chereshneva, said she and members of her village had been looking for Aika for more than a week.
“When they showed me the video, I did not recognize her at first. She looked so unhappy, all covered with ice, and she did not walk well because she had pricked her little paws on the sharp ice,” she told the Russian Tyumenskaya Liniya news website in a video. “Now she can walk more or less.”
Chereshneva said that Aika is now much more cheerful and her appetite has returned, but she no longer rushes to go outside.