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By Joel Hillan

DENVER (CBS4)– Thieves shot a 10-year-old service dog trying to protect her owner. The dog survived and will continue to help her owner, with just three legs now instead of four.

Wheat Ridge police say a man with a gun and woman broke into a room in the American Motel near Interstate 70 and Kipling in the middle of the night. They demanded cash and pills.

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“We had two people we didn’t know, kick in our door at about 1:30 in the morning,” said Deanna Rodrock.

Deanna said that when the man hit her on the ear with a gun, her service dog Nalla sprang into action.

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Nalla was shot in the fight, her left front leg was shattered.

She was taken to an emergency clinic to be stabilized, but the Deanna couldn’t afford the pricing there, so Nalla was transferred to Planned Pethood Plus in Wheat Ridge.

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Veterinarian Jeff Young founded Planned Pethood Plus nearly 30 years ago to help people like Deanna who couldn’t afford an expensive pet hospital.

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A surgery that would have cost thousands of dollars at another animal hospital was conducted at Planned Pethood Plus for about $500.

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That was the difference between life and death for Nalla.

“Of course it’s sad to have her lose that leg, but I’m certainly glad she didn’t lose her life,” said Dr. Rachel Nichols who performed the surgery and was grateful to return Nalla to her owners.

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“Even after all of this has happened she’s trying to drag me down the hall to get to you. She’s a really strong happy dog and I’m just glad she’s fixed and going home,” said Nichols.

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The stabilization cost Deanna several thousand dollars and a GoFundMe page has been set up to help with the cost.

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The two suspects are still on the run. Anyone who recognizes the pair is asked to call police immediately.

Joel Hillan anchors CBS4 This Morning on weekends as well as reports stories for CBS4 News at 5 and 6 p.m. Follow Joel on Twitter @joelhillan.

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