A six-year-old Goldendoodle named Gus became an unlikely hero on when he jumped into a Minnesota river to pick up an abandoned baby otter that was struggling to swim.
The dog’s owner, Cleo Young, was shocked to see Gus treading water after he lost his leg to in February. The three-legged canine had two tumors removed before his leg was amputated.
‘We thought, “Oh this is going to be so sad, he isn’t going to be able to run like he used to,” but this hasn’t slowed him down at all,’ Young told Minnesota’s CBS affiliate .
On Easter Sunday, the family watched Gus jump into the St Croix River, where he swam far out into the body of water and appeared to be looking for something.
After returning to shore, Gus dropped a small baby otter at the feet of Young’s grandkids, Ella and Lucy.
The family quickly cleaned up the baby otter and rushed him over to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.
Young described the trip to the animal center as ‘harrowing,’ noting the family did not have much time to get there before the facility would close for the evening.
The team at the rehabilitation center was able to nurse the young otter back to health, and told Young it’s likely he would not have survived if Gus hadn’t pulled him out of the water.
Wildlife officials said the river otter was far too young to be in the water.
‘It should still be in the den with its mom,’ the rehabilitation center wrote in a post shared to Facebook. ‘Having no idea where the den is, how far the little guy traveled, the otter has been admitted for rehabilitation.’
Officials said they were concerned for the creature during the first day and a half he was in their care because they feared he may have been fighting pneumonia.
‘The otter turned the corner the other day and is doing well,’ wildlife officials shared. ‘Kudos to Gus, and his wonderful owners Cleo and John, for saving this young otter’s life.’
According to the center, the otter has since been transferred to another rehabilitation center for more care.
Young’s grandchild, Ella Hammerstrand, told CBS the dramatic turn of events made for ‘an Easter Sunday we will remember for a long time.’
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