A three-legged dog that is battling cancer leaped into a river to save a drowning baby otter!
It happened in Lakeland, Minnesota, where the beloved local dog is being hailed as a hero. The Goldendoodle named Gus rescued a tiny baby otter in the St. Croix River. The Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Roseville treated the otter pup and said he’s doing much better.
“He’s a very friendly, happy, Goldendoodle,” Gus’ owner, Cleo Young, said.
Despite his happy-go-lucky nature and his dramatic heroics, it’s been a tough few years for 6-year-old Gus. Young said he had a tumor removed, and during a routine follow-up earlier this year, staff at the University of Minnesota found another, leading them to have to amputate his back leg.
“We thought, Oh, this is going to be so sad, he isn’t going to be able to run again like he used to, but this hasn’t slowed him down at all,” Young said.
That was clear on Easter Sunday when he jumped into the frigid St. Croix River. Young said her grandkids Ella and Lucy watched him from shore as they saw him leap in and swim far out, seemingly looking for something.
Obviously, Gus’s retriever instincts had kicked in. He returned to shore with a tiny baby otter in his mouth and lovingly left it at the girls’ feet. Covered in sand, they washed him in the sink and rushed to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Roseville.
“It was kind of a harrowing trip because it was closing at 6 p.m., and we didn’t know if we were going to make it,” Young said.
The team at WRC went right to work, nursing the cold pup back to health. They said if Gus hadn’t rescued him, he likely wouldn’t have survived.
Gus has three more chemotherapy sessions to go, but his battle for his life hasn’t stopped him from saving another.
“It was definitely an Easter Sunday we will remember for a long time,” Ella Hammerstrand said.
While adult otters do spend a lot of time frolicking in the river, the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center says the baby otter was too young to have been in the frigid waters and should have been in the den with his mother, and must have stumbled into the water accidentally and could not get out. He’s since been transferred to another rehabilitation center for more care.