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Help pours in for dog shot near Alexandria

The dog, a female lab mix temporarily named Alma, will undergo surgery to close a shotgun wound in coming days if she can grow enough healthy tissue.
Credit: Melissa Justice
The dog found shot last week near Garfield, MN is making an amazing comeback.

ALEXANDRIA, Minn. — A dog who suffered the worst of human cruelty is now basking in love and support from an army of pet lovers as she mounts a spirited recovery. 

The pup, a female black lab mix who at least temporarily is being called Alma, was found alongside a state highway last week near Garfield, a small community just outside Alexandria. Good Samaritans Mike Justice and his friend thought she had been struck by a car and rushed her to a nearby vet clinic. There, they learned Alma had instead been targeted with a shotgun. 

In the days since her rescue Alma has been battling to recover from a serious open wound on her shoulder, while a fund established to pay for her care has ballooned to nearly $6,500. Justice and his wife Melissa have played a major role in this comeback story, and are still amazed at her progress. 

"She is doing really well, considering," Melissa Justice shared with KARE 11. "Her body temp didn’t even register on the thermometer when they brought her into the vet. They have been giving her treatments to heal the necrotic tissue on her wound. Until there is enough healthy tissue, they won’t be able to close up the wound. They are hoping for surgery late this week but possibly next week."

Justice says there remains a danger of infection, but signs remain extremely positive. In fact, the couple has already found an adoptive home for Alma when she gets out of the vet clinic, likely a few weeks from now. She maintains that she and Mike will continue as the dog's godparents, and have been promised "lots of visits." 

"Our faith in people was shattered when we found out it was a close-range shotgun wound," she wrote, but also reflects that the subsequent outpouring of support and love for Alma has turned a terrible story into "the restoration of our faith in humanity."

The fund set up to pay for Alma's vet care has reached its goal, and additional donations will be shared with Bailey's Hope, an organization that provides relief for animal medical care for rescues and low-income families in need. 

Authorities continue to investigate the incident and are asking anyone who recognizes Alma or knows who may be responsible for shooting her to call the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office at 320-762-8151.  

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