Woodbury couple mourns loss of black lab who died in Stacy kennel fire

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A Woodbury couple is trying to come to grips with the loss of their beloved dog.

Their 6-year-old black lab was one of 18 dogs killed in the kennel fire at Waterview Kennels in Stacy, Minn. Tuesday morning.

Karen and Jim Michelson were on their last day of vacation when FOX 9 sent out a news alert about the kennel fire. That’s how they learned their dog had likely perished, but confirming that proved to be difficult and frustrating.

“You think of this gentle dog with a giant personality and we’re…we’re at a loss,” said Jim.

Iris was the Mickelson’s best friend and part of the family. Telling stories about Iris and her quirks and habits brings smiles to their faces, which are so desperately needed.

“The dog would come and sit by me on my lap and literally hug me,” Jim said. “A paw on each side and put its head there like, ‘It’s okay. It will be okay.’”

Tuesday, around midday, the Mickelsons saw the FOX 9 alert while on vacation in Puerto Vallara, Mexico.

“So, I check it and there’s a fire at a kennel in Stacy. I opened it up and we both stopped just dead in our tracks and saw that it was the Waterview kennels and we were both just shocked. I’m just trembling thinking about it,” Karen said.

Karen says she started making calls and sending texts to find out if Iris had made it out, but couldn’t get in touch with anyone. Finally, though, she got a call back from the owner. Through tears, the owner said she tried to rescue the dogs but couldn’t.

“She was crying and was like, she was so sorry but none of the dogs made it, and that was it,” Karen said.

For now, the Mickelsons are left with questions, pain and memories.

“Iris would come in and she would sit by that window and put her jaw right here and watch for kids,” Karen added.

The Mickelsons are hoping the answers come soon. They said they were told by the kennel owners they would be in touch, but had planned to have the dogs cremated, with the remains returned to the dog owners.

We tried getting in touch with Waterview Kennels and did not hear back. The State Fire Marshal has yet to determine a cause.