A Lakeland canine is being celebrated as a hero. The Goldendoodle whose name is Gus rescued a tiny baby otter in the St. Croix River. The Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Roseville treated the little pup and says he’s improving.
“He’s a very friendly, happy, Goldendoodle,” Gus’ owner, Cleo Young, said.
Though it’s been a tough few years for 6 year old Gus, he wags his tail and gives kisses through it. Young said he had a tumor removed during a follow up routine earlier this year, and that is when staff at the University of Minnesota found yet another growth, leading them to amputate his back leg.
“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 said.
That was clear Resurrection Sunday when he dove into the bone chilling St. Croix River. Young said her grandchildren Lucy and Ella saw him leap while they were on shore and watched him swim far out, seemingly looking for something.
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He returned to shore with a little baby otter in his mouth and left it at the young girls’ feet. Covered in sand, they washed him in the sink and raced 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 said.
The group at WRC went right to work, nursing the cold pup back to health. They said on the off chance that Gus hadn’t saved him, he most likely could not have survived on his own.
Gus has three more chemotherapy sessions to go, however his fight for his life hasn’t halted him from saving another life.
“It was definitely an Easter Sunday we will remember for a long time,” Ella Hammerstrand said.
The Wildlife Rehabilitation Center says the tiny baby otter is too young to be in the water on its own and should have been in the den with his mom. He’s since been moved to another rehabilitation center for further care.
We wish Gus the best, and hope for him a full recovery, but one thing is for sure, this pup is a champ! And no, I’m not referring to the baby otter. Although otter babies are called pups. They are born weighing around a mere 4.5 ounces for smaller species and up to 5 pounds for sea otters. Pups have sealed eyes that stay shut until they are around 1 month old, and at 2 months they start to learn to swim. At only 1 year of age, the pups leave their mothers (which helps paint the story, this pup must have been a baby-baby!), and by 2 to 5 years old they will be ready to have pups of their very own. Otters live up to around 12 years old in the wild, and can grow even older in captivity. They are carnivores, which means they only eat meat. Sea otters eat a wide range of marine animals including clams, urchins, crabs, abalone, snails, mussels and many others equaling up to 25 percent of their weight in food each day.