ELK RIVER, Minn - It was a normal Monday morning for Matt and Melissa St. Clair. Their three kids were off at school and their two black labs Willow and Ivy were outside going to the bathroom.
"We were inside when our neighbor came to the door," Matt explains.
That's when their normal morning took a terrible turn.
"She said, we think your dog Willow is dying in the neighbor's driveway."
The couple rushed over to find Willow lying on her side, wailing in pain. That's when Matt decided to rush her to the vet.
"The vet is about seven minutes away," Matt says. "She died half way there."
The assumption at first was that Willow had been hit by a car, but an x-ray revealed a tiny pellet lodged in her chest.
"It changed the whole feel of things, to have a dog that was maliciously shot in your neighborhood."
It's still hard for them to articulate their grief in words. That's why the couple decided to let their dog's empty kennel do the talking for them.
"I set the kennel out, because this was Willow's," Matt explains. "I hope anybody that possibly could have done this drives by and realizes that Willow's not coming home for us."
The death of their 18-month-old lab has also been hard on the couple's three kids. Melissa said it was difficult for them to understand what happened.
"We thought she would be the dog they grew up with and that's been taken away," Melissa says. "It's been really hard on them."
The loss has also been hard on the couple's 9-month-old lab Ivy. The couple often sees her in their backyard barking into the woods, looking for her lost friend.
"She hasn't been the same," Melissa says. "She's thrown up almost every day since it happened."
Nearly two weeks after the incident, the couple has decided to offer up a $1,000 reward to anyone who can help them find the shooter.
Elk River police are currently investigating, but say they don't have any suspects at this time.
They say anyone with information should call them at 763-635-1260
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