The month of March was a tough one for 78-year-old military veteran William Carpenter after the shocking death of his beloved dog. But thanks to the loving arms of his community, things are starting to look up.

Carpenter was out for a walk with his two dogs in Rushford, Wisconsin, when he heard a gunshot. But never in a million years did Carpenter suspect the shot would have been aimed at his 6-year-old furry companion, Antone.

“Got about halfway home — I heard a shot,” Carpenter said, recalling the chilling day. Carpenter immediately called for his dogs to return, but only one came back.

“Come home and the dog didn’t show up,” Carpenter explained. “So I went back right away and looked for it and found him lying dead — shot through the head with a high-powered rifle.”

Carpenter has lived in Rushford his entire life and said that while many community members are hunters and participate in target practice, Antone’s death was not an accidental shooting. Upon investigating, Winnebago County law enforcement agreed with him.

“The shot placement on the animal, clearly, it looks to law enforcement that this was an intentional act,” said Captain Dave Mack of the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Office. The sheriff’s office added that trespassing was not an issue, as Carpenter, who has good relations with his neighbors, had permission to walk his dogs in the field.

Carpenter was devastated. He’d brought Antone into his home to help him deal with depression, naming the dog after his deceased Air Force friend.

Weeks later, Carpenter heard a knock at the door. Winnebago County Sheriff John Matz was on the doorstep, holding a rescue pup in his arms.

“You may recall a few weeks ago that Mr. Carpenter here suffered a devastating loss when his dog was shot and killed,” read the Sheriff’s Office Facebook page. “While many people offered to replace his dog, Mr. Carpenter asked Sheriff Matz if he would help.”

“After searching long and hard for just the right fit, the Sheriff picked up Lovebug last night from a rescue in southern Wisconsin,” the post continued. Although the night was late and the pair spent the night at Matz’s house, Carpenter received the canine “delivery” the next day.

While nothing can replace a beloved pet, Carpenter couldn’t help but grin as he held the new pooch in his arms, making room for a new friend in his heart. The community’s genuine concern went a long way in helping Carpenter heal, and the sheriff’s act of kindness touched the hearts of the entire community.

“Yeah, he was a good friend,” the teary-eyed veteran said of Antone. “I’m so glad people are concerned, ya know.”

-When he heard the gunshots while out for a walk, he immediately went back and called for his two dogs. But only one returned.
That’s when he found him, lying on the ground…

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