LAKELAND, Minn. — A three-legged dog battling cancer still had enough pep to rescue a baby otter from a Minnesota river on Easter Sunday.
The 6-year-old Goldendoodle, named Gus, jumped into the St. Croix River to pull the young otter out of the water, WCCO-TV reported.
“The otter is much too young to be in the water,” the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota wrote in a Facebook post on Friday. “It should still be in the den with its mom. Having no idea where the den is, how far the little guy traveled, the otter has been admitted for rehabilitation.”
“He’s a very friendly, happy, Goldendoodle,” Gus’ owner, Cleo Young of Lakeland, told WCCO.
The dog made the rescue despite missing his right back leg, which was amputated after several tumors were discovered earlier this year, according to the television station.
“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 told WCCO.
On April 17, Young was with her two grandchildren and Gus, and watched the dog swim far out into the river. He returned with the otter in his mouth and left it at the girls’ feet, the television station reported.
The otter was covered in sand, but Young washed the animal and rushed it 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 told WCCO.
“We were quite concerned the first 36 hours,” the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota wrote on Facebook. “He was cold to the touch at admit and we didn’t know if he’d aspirated water, which could result in pneumonia.”
The otter is doing well, center officials said.
“Despite his journey, he just has a few scrapes,” WRC wrote in an Instagram post.
As for Gus, the Goldendoodle has three more chemotherapy sessions to go, WCCO reported. His fight to live was accentuated by his fight to save a life.
“It was definitely an Easter Sunday we will remember for a long time,” Ella Hammerstrand, Young’s granddaughter, told WCCO.
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