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Goodhue County Human Society volunteer Lauren Petersen plays with Jax, a collie found by three fishermen Friday. The dog was clinging to a log in the Mississippi River. -- photo by Jen Cullen/Republican Eagle

Whose dog is this?

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A dog stranded on a Mississippi River island near Red Wing was rescued Friday by three fishermen angling near the High Bridge.

The men found the battered collie clinging to a log in Mississippi River's swift-moving current near Island Campground and coaxed it into their boat.

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They called the Goodhue County Humane Society from a cell phone and dropped the dog off with a volunteer at Bay Point Park.

"He was very hungry, very wet and very tired," said Linda Niebeling, Humane Society volunteer. "It was very traumatic for him, I'm sure. He slept for two days. He was just zonked out."

Officials say the dog - who Humane Society staff have named Jax - could have been marooned for months and was likely forced from the island as flood waters closed in around him.

Niebeling said Jax was hungry and tired and covered in ticks and burrs - some the size of a soccer ball. A groomer had to shave his fur. Other than that, he was in good condition.

"He's just a gorgeous dog," she said. "He's wonderful."

Volunteers said the dog can sit and shake. They hope his owners see his picture so they can be reunited - and so everyone can find out how the dog came to be stranded.

"It's just a mystery," Niebeling said.

The Humane Society legally has to keep the dog for four days before putting it up for adoption. Niebeling said Jax will stay longer while he is nursed back to health.

Goodhue County operations Sgt. Kris Johnson had seen the dog several times sunning itself on the island and tried to approach it last week after Pierce County authorities received a concerned phone call.

Johnson was unable to catch the dog. Fearing the animal would jump into the fast-moving river, Johnson backed off and left some dog food.

He said it appeared the dog had traveled all over the island, as was indicated by marks left from the animal's leash.

"He looked like a very nice dog," Johnson said this week. "But I had a hunch he had been there for a while. His coat was huge."

Johnson returned with fellow water patrol deputy Scott Powers. The pair tried catching the dog with a live trap but he was nowhere to be found on the island, which had shrunk considerably due to rising floodwaters.

Authorities on both sides of the river received reports about the dog over the past few weeks.

Humane Society staff said the animal is between 1 and 2 years old. He had a leash and collar but no tags or microchip.

Anyone who recognizes the dog can call the Humane Society at (651) 388-5286.

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