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Humane society staff mourn loss of dog that was shot and left for dead – but saved

MASON CITY – The Humane Society of North Iowa is mourning the loss of a favorite shelter dog named “Miracle” this week, who had a long history of involvement with the organization.

Many will recall the tragic beginning to Miracle’s story: It was a cold January day in 2005 when a farmer in Franklin Country saw something out in the middle of his field. Curious, he went to check things out and found two dogs, a mother and her pup. They both had been brutally shot in the head at close range and dumped in his field. Upon closer inspection, he saw that the pup, though horribly injured, was still alive, huddled up close to her dead mother. He scooped up the injured pup and brought her the Humane Society of North Iowa.

The Humane Society of North Iowa sprang into action to save the 4 month old pup, named “Miracle” by staff members. Miracle had a bullet hole in the roof of her mouth, evidence that someone put a gun into this little dog’s mouth and pulled the trigger. After extensive veterinarian care, Miracle was stabilized and eventually healed. Miracle’s story of survival captivated animal lovers everywhere as she became a well-known victim and survivor of animal cruelty. Reward money was offered and law enforcement worked hard to find who could do such a heinous act, but with no success. The mystery remains unsolved.

Miracle was adopted by Humane Society of North Iowa employee Andrea Oppedal, who, like many others, had fallen in love with her during her recovery. Miracle flourished in Andrea’s care and life was good. Then, tragically, Andrea passed away unexpectedly just a few years later in 2007. Miracle was alone once again.

Shortly after Andrea’s death, Humane Society volunteer Stacy Rooney stepped forward to give Miracle the forever home she desperately needed. A lifelong animal lover and advocate, Rooney too had fallen in love with Miracle during her recovery at the shelter.

In Stacy’s care, Miracle became a mascot for the Humane Society of North Iowa serving as a reminder of the work and dedication the shelter has for animals in need. For many years, Stacy provided “pet therapy” services to the clients of Opportunity Village in Clear Lake and Good Shepherd in Mason City. Miracle was her frequent companion for these visits and made friends everywhere she met. Miracle loved her life and her happiness was contagious to everyone she met.

In 2008, the Humane Society of North Iowa launched its “Making Miracles Happen” Capital Campaign. The million dollar campaign was named for Miracle as her story symbolized the goals of the Humane Society: to help abandoned, neglected, displaced and abused animals.

Miracle has been a fixture of the Humane Society of North her entire life. She’d been a frequent visitor to the shelter and to events for many years. This week, at age 11, Miracle’s health took a turn for the worse and she passed away.

Miracle’s journey has come to an end, but her legacy will be with us forever. Her story of survival helped the Humane Society bring awareness to animal cruelty issues in our area. Her resiliency inspired people to donate to and support the Humane Society through their successful million dollar capital campaign. Miracle has forever left an impression on the hearts of those she loved and will always be remembered for the joy and love she gave. Rest in peace dear Miracle, thank you for being such a beloved companion.

The Humane Society of North Iowa is a non-profit organization that serves a 9 county area in North Iowa and operates a no-kill rescue animal shelter in Mason City.

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