Member Stories

Minnesota neighbors help rescue lost dogs from subzero weather

Written by Annie Barco

It was a start to the new year that no pet owner would want. Teri Velner from Edina, MN was letting her two beloved family dogs, Ranger and Hazel, out for a quick break as she did every evening before bed. But this time, Ranger and Hazel didn’t return.

Teri’s husband realized the dogs had escaped the family fence, a terrible discovery since temperatures in Minneapolis had dropped to a frigid -15 degrees. The family jumped in the car and set out to search for the dogs. While Ranger was a pup and could likely survive an evening outdoors, Hazel was nearly 13. The family searched until 1am and then returned home with plans to continue searching in the morning.

Around 9am the next day, Teri received a call from a local veterinarian. Ranger, the 3 year old, had been found! But sweet “elderly stateswoman Hazel” (as they called her) was still missing. Fearful that they may not find Hazel alive if any more time passed, Teri turned to the community for help.

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Teri Velner’s two dogs, Ranger and Hazel.

She posted onto Nextdoor and asked her sister living a few miles away to do the same. Within minutes, she had activated an army of neighbors determined to help the family find Hazel. Teri’s phone began ringing endlessly. Neighbors were calling her to tell her they were out on foot or in their cars searching for Hazel. Several reported sightings, which helped the family determine which direction Hazel was headed.

And then a miracle happened. A nearby neighbor who had seen Teri’s plea for help on Nextdoor decided to start off his new year with a good deed. Since work was still slow, he took a break from the office and drove around the neighborhood searching for Hazel. And to his surprise, he found her.

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After 12 hours in subzero weather, Hazel was rescued. Teri shared the good news with her neighbors on Nextdoor, who were eager to hear whether the dogs had been found, and it warmed Teri’s heart to see that so many of her neighbors were invested in her dogs’ well-being. Teri and her family were overwhelmed with joy – both of their beloved dogs were home, safe and sound, and it was all thanks to caring, wonderful neighbors.

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