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Family forego Christmas to save life of their dog

A FAMILY have given up their traditional Christmas with good food and presents to pay for veterinary treatment to save their life of their pet dog.

Josie was in bad shape by the time the veterinarians at the University of Minnesota saw her: broken back, dislocated hip, internal injuries. Surgery would be expensive, they told the dog's owner. Death would be much cheaper.

"It was a pretty easy choice, and I know people who don't have pets won't understand this. But Josie is like one of my four children," said Stella Twedt. "If my daughter had been hit by a car, I'd do anything to save her, to give her a normal life."

So Stella, 36, borrowed $3,000 from her father and raided her Christmas savings. The veterinary surgeons began to repair the damage left behind by the bumper of a speeding pickup truck.

There's no money left to fly Stella's 15-year-old daughter, Britney, who lives with her father in Arizona, to Minnesota for Christmas. There won't be presents under the tree for her two children who live with her: Brandon, 14, and Kirsten, 5. Britney understood.

Veterinarians in Mankato suggested the Twedts take Josie to the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities. The veterinarians there gave Stella Twedt options: put the dog down, let if live as a cripple, or perform surgery. Stella did not hesitate and chosebthe latter option.

The vets performed two operations on Josie over the next three days and in between, Stella Twedt, her kids and Dull drove through a snowstorm to see their dog.

Josie arrived home in North Mankato on Dec. 11. A bed was waiting for her. Brandon tested it the night before, sleeping through the night in it to make sure it was comfortable. The family is angry that the person who hit their dog hasn't been caught, but they are happy to have Josie home for the holidays.

"When we got her, she probably had no idea what she was going to go through, but she's handled everything up to now," Stella Twedt said. "She gave us so much love. Now, it's our turn."