An otter's best friend: Dog battling cancer makes heroic river rescue

A baby otter is reportedly in good health after being saved by a Goldendoodle

If you thought dogs were only a man’s best friend, think again. A Goldendoodle named Gus became a baby otter’s best friend this past Easter. 

Six-year-old Gus, who lost one of his legs due to cancer, had no problems making a swim on three legs and rescuing an otter pup from the frigid St. Croix River in Minnesota. 

"Well, our whole family was here on Easter Sunday for Easter dinner, and we took the dogs out. And Gus being Gus, he goes straight to the river," Ella Hammerstrand, grandchild of Gus’s owner, said.

Gus faced tough weather conditions out on the river, but clearly the hero dog was on a mission to help another animal in need. 

"There were whitecaps on the river, so the water was a little choppy, and it was his first time waiting and, you know, off to his belly with three legs," Hammerstrand said. "So we were watching him closely, but he was swimming and eventually, he just ran up the bank with a baby otter in his mouth and plopped it right at our feet."


Once the otter was out of the freezing water, Ella and her sister Lucy Hammerstrand brought the baby otter inside their home.

According to Ella, the animal is recovering and is thought to be okay. 

"He’s doing well. We heard that he’s been transported to a different facility that has more pills for him. The first 36 hours, they were watching him real closely in an incubator just to make sure he didn’t get pneumonia. Make sure there wasn’t any water in his lungs and keep them warm."

Before the Easter rescue, Gus was already considered a hero.

"Before this, he found a neighborhood dog in a hole and wouldn’t leave its side for a week before we came over and helped them," Hammerstrand said. 

The Goldendoodle is still undergoing chemo treatment, but Lucy Hammerstrand says Gus hasn’t slowed down. 

"As far as we’re concerned, he’s back to his old self, and he can run and swim," Hammerstrand said.