A neighbor knocked on the front door of Melissa St. Clair’s Elk River home and gave her the fateful news.

“You have two black labs. I think one of them is dying in the driveway,” St. Clair recalled the neighbor telling her.

St. Clair rushed to the side of the beloved 1½-year-old dog named Willow who was bleeding. She figured the dog had been hit by a car. It turned out she had been shot in the heart.

“It’s been so hard. She was a totally a member of the family,” St. Clair said in an interview Friday, about two weeks since that fateful day. “She had every quality you’d want in a dog. She was a companion, an ideal sweetheart of a dog. Who would do such a thing?”

As Melissa, her husband, Matt, and their three young children grieve their loss, they are hoping police who continue to search for the shooter will be able to provide the answer.

Police have canvassed the neighborhood in the central part of the Sherburne County city in hopes of turning up leads. No witnesses have come forward and police say they are puzzled by the crime.

“We don’t know the circumstances around it,” said Capt. Bob Kluntz of the Elk River Police Department. “We don’t know if the dog was on it own property, if it was a drive by. There is just not much information.”

The St. Clair’s have offered a $1,000 reward in hopes somebody will step forward and can help them figure out what happened on Nov. 20.

Melissa had let Willow and 9-month-old Ivy out to go to the bathroom around noon. Shortly afterward, came the knock at the front door.

Matt loaded Willow into his truck and even did chest compressions on Willow as he drove her to the Barrington Oaks Pet Hospital. She died on the way.

Vets discovered the bullet hole and retrieved the projectile that had come from a pellet gun. Matt gave the bullet to police in hopes it might help with the investigation, Melissa said.

Willow was a big part of the family’s life. She rode on Matt’s lap as he mowed the lawn and frolicked with the couple’s daughter and two sons. Her departure has even shaken Ivy, who has barely been able to eat since the shooting, Melissa said.

Melissa made mementos replete with Willow’s paw prints for the kids to help keep the dog’s memory alive. But what the family really wants to know is who carried out such a heinous act.

“For somebody to shoot her for no reason, we don’t understand,” Melissa said. “It would be really nice to have some answers.”

Anybody with information can call police at 763-635-1260.