Leaving Minnesota; rescued dog is finally going home

Published: March 25, 2006 | 3855th good news item since 2003

Members of a Minnesota Air National Guard unit are finding it difficult to say goodbye to a four-legged friend.

The airmen adopted the dog, and called her Dixie, while they were helping out in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

But now the puppy is going back home to the bayou after its new Minnesota family found the dog’s original New Orleans family.

Dixie was just a small dog when members of the National Guard found her in water logged New Orleans. The friendly black dog was wet, cold, and near death when Mike Forster rescued her.

“She didn’t move for three days,” remembers Mike.

But she was surrounded by loving nurses and soon she was healthy and given the name Dixie. The lovable mutt became the pride of the unit during the Minnesotans’ stay in New Orleans.

When it was time to go, and no one had come to claim her, Dixie flew back to Minnesota with the 133rd.

Soon she was navigating the cubicles at the operations building where her new friends work, giving sloppy wet kisses, “It’s easy to like that kind of personality.”

But she needed a more stable environment, so Master Sgt. Bob Hagel took Dixie home to Hugo to live with his family.

“We were really thinking she would be our dog for a long time,” said Hagel.

But thanks to a missing pet Web site, Dixie’s Louisiana family was finally located last week and the Hagel’s found out her name is really Panda.

Lori and Jimmy Price lost Panda in the chaos of the New Orleans evacuation. They said their three year old daughter Olivia still calls for her every night.

So now it appears that Olivia will get her dog back and the Hagel family will lose theirs.

The news has both pleased and saddened the Hagel family, “She’s going back home. I’m glad,” said Samantha Hagel as tears streamed down her face, “it’s tears of joy that’s what it is.”

There are so many unwanted pets in the world that it’s nice to meet one that owns hearts in two states.

The Price family said finding Panda was about the only piece of good news they’ve had in months. They lost their house and everything inside when Katrina hit New Orleans.

Dixie will leave Minnesota Saturday and arrive a few hours later in New Orleans as Panda.

Published in Animals, Hurricane Katrina
See also: www.kare11.com
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