A Minnesota dog who lost a leg to cancer has been hailed as a hero for jumping into a river and saving a baby otter, according to reports.
Gus, a 6-year-old Goldendoodle, spent Easter Sunday along the banks of the St. Croix River along with his owners’ grandchildren, Ella and Lucy Hammerstrand, Fox 9 reported.
The pooch was recently diagnosed with cancer after a groomer discovered a tumor and had a leg amputated in February, the outlet reported.
But suddenly, Gus jumped in the water and swam as though he had all of his limbs.
“First time swimming with three legs and he comes out of the water with a baby otter in his mouth!” Ella told the news outlet.
“I held him for a little while they tried to find his mom, but we couldn’t,” Lucy told Fox 9.
The two bundled up the little otter and rushed it to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota in Roseville.
“He was so cute. His eyes weren’t even open yet…you could just see his little fingernails and his little tail. He almost like curled into a little ball,” Ella said.
Gus’ owner Cleo Young told WCCO that the trip to the wildlife center was “kind of harrowing because it was closing at 6 p.m., and we didn’t know if we were going to make it.”
Staff at the facility estimated that the otter was about a week old, far too young to be swimming alone. The tiny pup has since been transferred to another rehab facility.
“I think he (Gus) knew the otter was hurting and something was wrong…he definitely got a lot of treats afterwards,” Ella told Fox 9.
Young told WCCO that after he had the leg amputated, “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.”
She told Fox 9 that “he does just great on three legs. He runs as fast as he ever did.”
The Wildlife Rehabilitation Center said its staff had been “quite concerned the first 36 hours — he was cold to the touch at admit and we didn’t know if he’d aspirated water, which could result in pneumonia.”
But the animal “turned the corner the other day and is doing well,” the center said.
“Kudos to Gus, and his wonderful owners Cleo and John, for saving this young otter’s life,” it added.