After being lost for a month, family dog is found

By Tom Weber

Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN 

Lost pets

If you find a stray animal or are looking for a lost pet in the Rochester area, contact:

- Rochester Rescue at

- Rochester Animal Shelter at 328-6960


- Safehaven Pet Rescue at 529-4079

- Paws and Claws at 288-7226

Rue and Rob Wiegand left for a Christmas trip to Wisconsin with heavy hearts. Their beloved 16-year-old dog, Cinnamon, had wandered away from their southeast Rochester home Nov. 29, and despite 1,500 fliers, newspaper ads and the help of Safehaven and Rochester Rescue, the dog could not be found.

"I still had a glimmer of hope, but we had pretty much decided that at her age and with such horrid weather conditions, there was no way she could have survived," Rue recalled.

This Christmas story, however, would have a happy ending. On Christmas night, Zelda and Tom Berg, neighbors of the Wiegands, heard a wimpering outside their house. At first, Zelda thought it was a cat. The Bergs went outside with a flashlight and traced the sound to a window well. There, half-buried in mud and snow, was Cinnamon.

"I knew it was her right away," Zelda said. "I knew the color. She was shivering and she was filthy, but it was her."

The Bergs wrapped Cinnamon in a coat and brought her into their warm house. Then Zelda got on the phone to make a Christmas wish come true for the Wiegands.

"I called and told them 'I've got a Christmas surprise for you. I've found your dog, and she's alive,'" she said.


Because of treacherous roads, the Wiegands were not able to start for home until the next day. Meanwhile, another friend took Cinnamon to the Emergency Veterinary Service in Rochester. The dog's weight had dropped from 61 pounds to 36 pounds, and x-rays detected rocks and a nail in Cinnamon's stomach. She would need immediate intervention with a feeding tube and IV fluids to survive.

The Wiegands got back to Rochester that evening to find Cinnamon extremely weak and unresponsive. However, her condition began to gradually improve, and after spending most of Dec. 28 at the office of her regular vet, Dr. Peter Hoffman, Cinnamon was ready to come home.

"Everyday she's getting stronger," Rue said. "She's more steady on her feet. For an old dog, she's got a lot of determination."

But this isn't just a dog story. As far as the Wiegands are concerned, people are a big part of Cinnamon's rescue. "I've had so many strangers call me out of the blue," Rue said. Volunteers organized by Rochester Rescue have raised $1,500 to help pay Cinnamon's veterinary bills.

"We never expected anything like that," Rue said. "Who would have thought people could be so wonderful?"

Apparently one lost dog thought enough of her own wonderful people to finally find her way home.  

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