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Wendy Reuer, Published March 20 2013

Dogged pursuit of a pup in need: West Fargo pet groomers rescue poodle after truck-driver owner hospitalized in Ohio

WEST FARGO – Boo, a white miniature poodle, found herself alone, cold and in a strange Ohio hospital parking lot over the weekend.

Her owner, Eric Gordon, a truck driver from the Fargo area, suffered a stroke near Amherst and called 911. While he was admitted to the hospital, Boo was left in the truck, where the heat eventually shut off as temperatures hovered well below freezing.

Once Gordon was able, he called his friend and Boo’s groomer, Karla Wiebe.

Wiebe, owner of Pet Palace in West Fargo, said she and groomer Casey Dinham couldn’t bear the thought of Boo being stranded alone.

So despite the incoming blizzard, the pair left for Ohio on Sunday morning.

Wiebe said they made it slowly to St. Cloud, Minn., only to learn Interstate 94 had been closed behind them from Alexandria to Moorhead.

“There was no turning back now,” Wiebe said. “We just couldn’t let her sit in the truck and freeze or go without food or anyone there.”

What was supposed to be a 15-hour trip became 20 hours.

By Monday, hospital staff had arranged for a local shelter to pick up Boo from the truck. The shelter said it would only keep her for three days, Wiebe said.

The women reached Amherst about 5 p.m. Monday, a half-hour after the shelter closed.

After securing paperwork from the hospital and Gordon that the shelter requested, the two women were finally able to reach Boo on Tuesday afternoon.

“She was so scared. Then, she was so happy to see us,” Wiebe said. “She didn’t know anybody. She was there all alone.”

Dinham, who had helped groom Boo, volunteered to adopt the dog after learning Gordon would likely have a long road to recovery and would be unable to care for her.

“Eric loves his dog very much. It’s heartbreaking for him to give her to a new home,” Wiebe said.

After driving through the night Tuesday, the women arrived back in West Fargo on Wednesday morning, just 15 minutes before opening Pet Palace for the day.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530