Three-Legged Hero Dog with Cancer Saves Baby Otter from River in Minnesota

"He came to shore, and he had something in his mouth, and it turned out to be a very tiny otter," the dog’s owner Cleo Young said

dog saves baby otter

A three-legged dog undergoing cancer treatment came to the rescue of a baby otter in St. Croix River in Lakeland, Minnesota, on Easter Sunday.

The "friendly" and "happy" Goldendoodle named Gus — who had his back leg amputated due to a cancerous tumor — jumped into the chilly river to pick up the abandoned young otter and brought the animal to his owner and her granddaughters, Ella and Lucy, according to WCCO.

"He came to shore, and he had something in his mouth, and it turned out to be a very tiny otter," Gus's owner Cleo Young told the outlet.

Ella described the otter as "so cute" to KMSP and said the otter pup "almost curled into a little ball" when brought out of the water.

"I held him for a little while they tried to find his mom, but we couldn't," Lucy added about what happened after Gus brought the otter to land.

After failing to find the little otter's mom, the family rushed the otter pup to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota (WRC).

"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.

Gus's water rescue marked the first time the dog went swimming since being diagnosed with cancer and having his leg amputated in February. The canine is currently receiving chemotherapy treatments at the University of Minnesota Veterinary Hospital, according to KMSP.

"First time swimming with three legs, and he comes out of the water with a baby otter in his mouth!" Ella told the outlet.

"He does just great on three legs. He runs as fast as he ever did," added Young.

On April 20, the WRC provided an update on Facebook about the otter's recovery alongside a video of him being bottle feed.

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"Everyone give a shout-out to Gus, the wonderful Goldendoodle who, while swimming in the St. Croix River, came across this tiny young river otter and rescued it," the rehabilitation center shared.

"We were 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," WRC added. "The otter turned the corner the other day and is doing well."

The wildlife center added that the otter was "much too young" to be in the water and should have been in a den with its mother.

"I think he knew the otter was hurting and something was wrong … he definitely got a lot of treats afterward," Ella told KMSP about Gus's hero instincts.

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