updated 2/4/2010 9:39:57 AM ET 2010-02-04T14:39:57

Baltic, the spunky dog who floated at least 75 miles on an ice floe, has a new owner: The seaman who rescued him.

The decision was made after the dog rejected six people who had claimed to be his original owner, Wojciech Pelczarski of the Sea Fisheries Institute in Gdynia said Thursday.

The would-be owners were probably trying to be part of the media attention surrounding the dog's dramatic rescue, he added.

Pelczarski, whose institute co-owns the research ship "Baltica" that rescued the dog and nicknamed him, said Baltic is sociable, affectionate and was getting his first bath since his icy ordeal because his fur was still salty.

The dog's new master is Adam Buczynski, who pulled him to safety from an ice sheet in the Baltic Sea last week.

Buczynski and other crew members spotted the dog Jan. 25 floating at least 15 miles from land. The rescue was difficult because the frightened, shivering dog kept falling into the water. Fearing he could drown, the crew lowered a pontoon to the water and Buczynski, the ship mechanic, managed to grab the dog and pull him to safety.

"He was very lucky," Pelczarski said. "If the vessel had passed him at night, no one would have spotted him."

Baltic was first seen two days earlier on the Vistula River, 60 miles inland, drifting on ice past the city of Grudziadz. Local firefighters said they tried but failed to save him then.

It remains unclear where or when the dog's odyssey started.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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