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Dog dies after being struck by hit-and-run snowmobile driver on Pelican Lake

Rosie died after she was hit by a snowmobile Monday, Feb. 15. (Photo submitted by James Larson)

You know that sound, the sound of a car hitting a pedestrian that most of us have only heard in movies and on television?

James Larson just experienced that. Only it was real. So real that it left a knot in his stomach and the heartache of losing the love of his life: his dog Rosie.

At about 4:40 p.m. Monday, Feb. 15, Larson was out playing with Rosie, a 60-pound Yellow Lab Golden Retriever, when three snowmobiles on Pelican Lake flew by. The first two almost hit Rosie and the third actually hit her then sped off.

"They hit the dog and then went even faster," Larson said.

"My mom looked at me and I looked at my mom, it was paralyzing. It was so shocking, we couldn't believe what we had just witnessed."

Rosie died just a few minutes after the accident. She was 20 months old.

"I got to Rosie's body and there was blood coming out of her head and mouth and she was still twitching," Larson said. "And I sat down and I rubbed her and had my hand on her chest and she died."

Because the snowmobiles were going about 60 mph, it was almost impossible for Larson and his mother, Lynne Barry, to catch a license plate number or the make and model.

So when Larson reported the accident to the Otter Tail County Sheriff's Department, he was told there is not much the authorities can do.

But they advised him to put up fliers around town asking for assistance in finding the snowmobiler who hit Rosie because there is probably damage to that snowmobile.

"If it was a civilized adult, one of the three would've stopped," Larson said.

The last couple of days have been the hardest for Larson. He had just gotten back from a family vacation in Mexico on Saturday and continued his routine with Rosie of coffee and a morning walk right outside his cabin on Pelican Lake.

Now he looks out the front door and sees footprints; the images and sounds of the accident are still replaying in his mind.

"This was a beloved dog, but at the rate that those people were flying I don't think that it would've mattered if it was a dog, a person, a horse," Barry said. "Three people can't be blind riding a snowmobile at 60 miles per hour."

Rosie was a rescue dog from Audubon who lived with Larson for about seven months. He said she didn't even know what a toy was when he got her. She learned everything from him and followed him everywhere. She was calm, shy, always sitting in a corner somewhere in his company.

"I'm so grateful for the time that I had with her," Larson said. "I feel I owe it to Rosie to give my effort to have somebody be accountable for this act."

Anyone with information on the accident is asked to call Larson at 218-841-2722.