DES MOINES, Iowa — A random act of kindness helped rescue what could have been a heartbreaking holiday for an Iowa family.

An emergency trip to the vet for her sick dog wasn’t in Amanda Letz’s budget this year.

“Just the X-ray alone was $533,” Letz said, “so I dipped into my kids’ Christmas money that we had set back and got her the X-ray.”

The X-ray showed the family dog, Stella, would need surgery to save her life. It would cost anywhere from $5000 to $8000, money Letz didn’t have.

Thankfully, a helpful stranger who is choosing to remain anonymous was close by to lend a hand.

“This lady comes walking up behind me and at first I really didn’t even want to talk to her because I don’t know this lady, and I’m sitting here crying. I’m having to put my best friend to sleep, I don’t want to sit here and explain this whole situation to someone that I don’t know,” Letz said.

“I asked Amanda a little bit about her story and who she was. She told me she’s single and has five kids and works two jobs,” the anonymous donor said.

“[The stranger] said, ‘Well I’m gonna run in and talk to them really quickly, talk to the vets and see what’s going on and what we can come up with,’” Letz explained.

“And I got to Amanda’s car and I said, ‘Get Stella, we’re going in, you’re getting the surgery,’” the anonymous donor said.

“And it took me a minute because I knew how much money it was, and I was just like, there’s absolutely no way that this lady is going to do this,” Letz said.

“She just melted my heart and I knew it was more than just the dog and this dog meant the world to her,” the stranger explained.

It was an act of kindness for a family and dog she didn’t know.

“I could be sitting here today in a much different state of mind than I am now just thanks to this lady who I don’t even know who just offered to do something so, so big for me,” Letz said.

It’s a good deed she hopes will inspire others this holiday season.

“I think when you can show kindness and help others who are in need and if you can help them when you can, you should,” the donor said.