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Dog abandoned in -30 degree temps near Hillsboro saved by team of volunteers

A dog abandoned in killer wind chills on New Year's Day. Rescued by a caring community.

The dog had been abandoned in killer wind chills on New Year's Day west of Caledonia, North Dakota.
Randy Spokely submitted photo.
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FARGO — Randy Spokely of Hillsboro was just coming back from his farm when he spotted a dog lying on the side of the road.

"It was west of Caledonia, and it looked like a piece of cardboard laying on the road," Spokely said. "The dog lifted its head and just dropped right on the cement, right on the ground, so it was pretty frozen," he said.

The dog had been abandoned in killer wind chills on New Year's Day. The dog was near death.

"You could tell it was breathing and that was about it," Spokely said.

A Traill County deputy got involved, along with Journey Home Animal Rescue. They initially used plastic pop bottles filled with warm water to try and save the dog.


"She was bad," said Leslie Rethmeier of Journey Home Animal Rescue in Grand Forks. "Dreamer wasn't responsive, just laying there and cold to the touch."

When the deputy and the Journey Home Animal Rescue realized how bad Dreamer was, the deputy picked up Dreamer and brought her to the Red River Animal Emergency Hospital in Fargo.

"So poor Dreamer came in, in pretty rough shape. She had classic signs of severe hypothermia," said Dr. Andy Carver with Red River Animal Emergency Hospital.

Carver, who specializes in emergency and critical care veterinary medicine, said Dreamer's body temp was too cold to read on their thermometer.

"She was in a coma and her body was in shock," Dr. Carver said.

"(Dreamer had) blood pressure that was too low to read, (and) her heart rate was slow," Dr. Carver said.

For a couple of hours, it didn't look good for Dreamer.

"We knew it was touch and go, we knew it was going to be scary," Dr. Carver said.


"They said that her prognosis was very guarded," Rethmeier said. "She had a 50/50 chance."

But then a turn around. after a few hours and a lot of intensive care, Dreamer went from a chunk of ice to a dog ready to play.

"I get goose bumps just talking about it, how quickly she bounced back," Rethmeier said.

Dreamer posed with the veterinary team that helped save her. And hours later, Dreamer was discharged to a special foster home, where she is already running around. Now, that's a save.

"A wonderful way to start the New Year, that's why we're here day in and day out, 24-7 and that's why we do it.," Dr. Carver said.

Because it appears the dog was intentionally dropped off on the rural Traill County road, law enforcement there is investigating who is responsible.
Submitted photo / Journey Home Animal Rescue foster family

Kevin Wallevand has been a Reporter at WDAY-TV since 1983. He is a native of Vining, Minnesota in Otter Tail County. His series and documentary work have brought him to Africa, Vietnam, Haiti, Kosovo, South America, Mongolia, Juarez,Mexico and the Middle East. He is an multiple Emmy and national Edward R. Murrow award recipient.

Contact Email: kwallevand@wday.com
Phone Number: (701) 241-5317
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