The brown and white border collie had caught Beth Stenberg’s attention several times as she drove her two sons to hockey practice in Idaho Falls in February. The lone female dog was a frequent sight on the edge of Interstate 15 between Fort Hall and Blackfoot.
Stenberg even thought about stopping and trying to coax the dog to her car.
That all changed on Feb. 9 when Stenberg spotted the dog lying in a patch of grass. She had been shot.
Stenberg didn’t have her sons Emmett, 14, and Owen, 11, with her to help, but she knew the animal was in trouble.
As she approached the dog, she realized it had been wounded and Stenberg needed help. A call to the Idaho State Police did the trick and soon two troopers arrived to help Stenberg load the injured dog into her vehicle. Stenberg had already called her husband, Mark, and he’d given her the green light to bring the injured dog to Bannock Animal Medical Center.
“The dog was just lovely,” Stenberg said about the trip to to vet. “She was quiet.”
And the Border Collie that has been named Sis was also pregnant.
“In the X-ray there were all these little spines,” Stenberg said.
There were also shards from a bullet throughout the dog’s back and shoulders.
Veterinarian Jamie Rantala treated the dog’s wounds and determined most of the shrapnel would have to remain in place. Drains to get rid of the infection were put in place and antibiotics were administered.
“She was pregnant, which compounded her recovery,” Rantala said.
In fact Sis was due to deliver a litter of nine puppies in about two weeks.
But the veterinarian was struck by something else about the 2-year-old dog — her demeanor.
“For the extent of her injuries she never once tried to nip at us,” Rantala said. “She seemed to have an understanding that we were there to help her. She was a sweetheart from the get-go.”
Rantala said the dog had been shot within 24 hours of Stenberg finding her. And she said the round used was likely a varmint load of some type which explains why the projectile fragmented so extensively.
“She’s a lucky gal,” Rantala said about the collie.
And the luck didn’t stop with a visit to the vet. Stenberg brought the pregnant dog to her home on Preakness Circle where she gave birth to four male and five female puppies that are healthy and thriving and have become play pals for the Stenberg’s other Border Collie, a male named Buddy they had rescued seven years ago.
Stenberg also posted photos and a story about Sis’s rescue on her Facebook page. The news spread like wildfire and soon the Stenberg family was receiving donations of pet supplies and cash from people throughout the U.S. She has also been able to place most of the puppies when they are old enough to be on their own.
“People want to know what’s going on,” Stenberg said. “It was absolutely amazing. I had been feeling a little disenchanted with the human race, and this changed that.”
A woman in Seattle, who is an agility trainer, has put dibs on one of the pups and another is going to a trail runner and skier whose dog died last year.
Although things are a little hectic at the Stenberg household with nine little puppies, two adult dogs and two cats, Stenberg said she feels blessed.
“The day before I rescued Sis, I got a call from my doctor telling me I had to have a biopsy,” Stenberg said. “I think the good Lord made it so I’d have something else to worry about.”
Stenberg said she’s really become attached to Sis, but she would understand if someone came forward to claim the animal as a lost pet once the puppies are old enough to be weaned.
They are a mix of brown and white, mostly white and black and white puppies. There names are Suzie, Sassy, Oden, Chuck, Trip, Dottie, Rogue, Petunia and Valentine.
“It helps us to have a name for them,” Stenberg said. “Of course they’ll have their own names when they get a forever home.”
She really hopes that’s already the case for Sis.
“I’ve really fallen in love with her,” Stenberg said. “She’s part of my family now.”