"It changed my life:" Moved to tears, nurse makes emotional rescue while vacationing in California

CALIFORNIA (WITI) -- It's an incredible rescue that was caught on camera. A nurse vacationing in California saved the life of a sea lion. She says instinct kicked in, and she decided to do everything in her power to save the life.

"I felt helpless. As a nurse, I felt useless. I felt like I can save one species but I can`t save another," Anna Priest said.

For Priest, saving anything was the last thing on her mind as she rounded out her summer -- vacationing in California with her son.

She says nearly half-way through the trip, her friends they were visiting took them off the beaten path to see what they called "the real California" -- remote location known to be peaceful and calm. What they found was tragedy: A sea lion on the rocks -- baking in the hot sun, slowly dying.

"You know, we came around it and its eyes were open and so I knew it was alive. It looks dead, you know. You saw the video. It looks dead and I was like 'we`ve got to do something. We`ve got to get it in the water,'" Priest said.

Priest says her friends said there was no hope for the sea lion, and refused to help.

"It had like given up hope, you can tell -- and then all of the sudden it started crying," Priest said.

Priest says her instincts as a nurse kicked in, and she wasn't going to give up hope.

"And we were just like 'no. We're going to do something,'" Priest said.

Priest says she poured water on the sea lion's fried skin -- cooling it off, and eventually, he was able to make his way back to sea.

"It changed my life," Priest said.

It's an unexpected lesson Priest says she'll never forget.

"I feel like we, we need to help everyone and everything. If we see a need and, you know, we can fill it, at least try. Just try, you know?" Priest said.

A marine biologist watched the video and says the sea lion must have been very close to death, because sea lions can be very aggressive when approached by people.

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