By Caroline Cummings

NEW GERMANY, MINN. (WCCO) — A family in Carver County is grieving the tragic loss of their beloved dog who was shot and killed by an arrow.

If dogs are man’s best friend, Great Pyrenees mix Reba was that and more to the Swanson family — a fierce protector of dozens of chickens that live on their farm.

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Dan Swanson, her owner, and his daughter Bria Swanson said Reba was chasing down a predator on Tuesday and ventured off the property, but didn’t return like usual. She often left but quickly looped back around. The GPS tracker they had on her died.

Holding back tears, Swanson said a neighbor came to notify him that he witnessed her killing. He was shocked, angered and devastated upon hearing the news.

“Any pet you’ve had around, you get attached to it, and see something like that happen to it, you feel, you know, you just get mad,” Dan said.

Reba (credit: Swanson Family)

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Pets are more than just pets to so many. When Bria Swanson posted on her Facebook page about what happened, friends and neighbors in the community shared in their pain. 

“The days where dogs are just around is gone. You know, they are right in line with women and children,” Bria said. “I think that’s why people got so upset is because they are our family members. They’re our babies.”

And Reba was essential to the family’s healing from another tragedy. Weeks after they first got her as a puppy, the Swanson’s son died by suicide.

“It was really a life saver at that time for my mom,” Bria said. “That was really her reason to keep going.”

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The family hopes it will find justice. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources said it’s assisting the Carver County Sheriff’s Office by taking the case. A department spokesman said it’s an open investigation and that he couldn’t offer more details at this time.

Caroline Cummings