The dog, a one-year-old chocolate Labrador retriever named Wrigley, belonged to Stacey Ernat. Ernat was heading home for Christmas in the Quad Cities from Denver, where she teaches third grade.
She stopped in Marne, Iowa on Christmas Eve to see a friend during the drive.
Wrigley, along with another dog, was playing in the snow in a nearby church yard when a neighbor came out of his house with a shotgun and killed Wrigley.
“She was curled up in a ball, really scared and confused why she was hurt so bad, so I picked her up and I held her an I told her it was gonna be okay, Ernat said. "I just wish he would have thought about what he would have did because I wouldn’t be here right now."
"I wouldn’t be heartbroken without my best friend," she added.
Ernat took Wrigley to the vet’s office where she died a few hours later.
The other dog was uninjured and several people were outside with the dogs at the time, according to The Des Moines Register.
Police say Collins Cutler admitted to shooting Wrigley because, he says, he didn’t want the dog playing in his yard. Cutler was ticketed for discharging a firearm within city limits and is scheduled to appear in court next month. Possible future charges are pending.
The Des Moines Register reports that Ernat is driving the dog home Wednesday to be buried in her hometown of Coal Valley, Illinois.
Thanks to our sister station WHO-TV for this report