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Downtown Dogs: Roo

Photo By Hillary Ehlen

When you first lay your eyes on Roo, the one-year-old pup owned by Unglued’s Ashley and Justin Morken, you’re immediately drawn to her eyes. As you get to know her and pet her a bit, she’ll greet with you a decent amount of slobber up and down your arms. It’s nothing you did wrong though, Roo is just so happy to meet new people, smell new smells and see new things.

While you get caught up in her personality, you almost fail to notice Roo’s only limitation (other than needing to say hi to every other dog passing by). She only has three legs and after watching her walk from one place to another, you’ll notice how taxing it is on Roo, especially in the hot Fargo summer.

However, Roo is becoming a better walker day by day, increasing her strength and stamina. On this day, her owners were amazed by her endurance as she walked nearly a block to the corner of Broadway and Fourth Avenue. Perhaps she was just that excited to get her picture taken or, Roo is finding some sense of normalcy with the Morken family.

The one-year-old has a wide array of breeds in her bloodline. Ashley conducted a DNA test upon adopting Roo and found she was part Siberian Husky, Australian Shepherd and more. However, the Morken family opts for “Husky Mix” rather than the mouthful of breeds in her genealogy.

Ashley and Justin were looking to adopt another dog to accompany their anxious Shepherd Mix, Liv. She was adopted from 4 Luv Of Dog here in Fargo and the Morkens wanted to adopt from the local shelter again. They had just lost their bulldog and they knew Liv needed a buddy.

“When Roo popped up as a four-month-old three-legged puppy we met her and immediately knew she belonged in our hot mess of a family,” Morken said. “She immediately wrestled a huge stuffed lion to the ground in her hobbley-ness and won us over.”

According to Morken, Roo became a three-legged puppy after some kind of serious accident in the Turtle Mountain area. Luckily, Roo was able to recover from her injuries despite being only a puppy. She went to 4 Luv Of Dog when she was just four months old.

There are certain indefinable qualities that Roo possesses. Morken points out that these are the reason she is so special. “Roo has eyes that will melt your heart,” she said. “When we come home she comes to the door like a speedy bulky bullet and falls to the ground whapping her tail on the floor in a way that takes away all the stress of the day as she stares up at you with those eyes.”

However, that does not mean Roo has not come without her challenges. While the Morkens would not trade her for anything, she has run into some unfortunate health obstacles in the past year. Her hip did not heal properly from her injuries and the Morkens did not learn of this until six months after adopting Roo. This has led to some untimely (yet necessary) vet visits. She is also extra-friendly with dogs she has never met before, which can be frustrating at times too.

Yet, Ashley and Justin are both thankful for Roo in more ways than one. Morken says that the care Roo requires has allowed the family to slow down a bit, which she feels is needed.

“For as complicated as she is, she is the reason we can’t overwork ourselves at our jobs, which is tricky especially owning a small business,” Morken said. “To be able to be home more consistently forces us to slow down, relax and organize our days around being home just a bit more often which is a very good thing in our lives. And good lord dogs are so healing for the soul on the worst and best days and we feel like Roo is next level for that when she isn’t howling at our neighbors’ dogs (I swear we are working on it more, neighbors).”

When asked what type of advice she has for local pet owners, Ashley differed to a fellow pet owner in town. “The best advice I’ve ever gotten and would share was from Dana of Pits And Kitties, that an exercised dog is a well-behaved dog,” she said.

While Roo gets along with the crew at Unglued and the Casselton Vet staff, she is still in training and has yet to do extended walking. However, her mom has some grand visions of what an ideal day will look like for her and Roo. Given the progress she made on this day, this dream may not be too far in the distance.

“In my dream world, we’d grab a bagel together at Bernbaum’s and then have a coffee outside of our favorite coffee shop (which is basically all of them) and then high five a playmate outside of Hot Dog! Pet Salon after getting their nails trimmed,” Morken said.

It’s a simple dream, no doubt, but Roo has been through a tremendous amount of trials in her one year on Earth. Being able to grab a bagel, coffee and a nail-clipping would be a luxury for Roo and her parents based on what she has gone through in her past.

Do not be fooled by that past though. Only having three legs and her limited walking ability has not deterred Roo from happiness with Ashley and Justin Morken. Her lovable personality and copious amounts of slobber only affirm that notion.

Roo’s Favorite Things In Fargo

For unique and healthy treat options

Natural Pet Center
3037 13th Ave S

For fun and sweet treats

Hotdog! Pet Salon
629 1st Ave N

For learning to be a good dog (still in progress)

Down Dog Studios
345 27th Circle South, Unit D

Favorite Part Of Fargo

According to Mom, Roo loves the winters. Given her husky heritage, she enjoys when the weather cools down in Fargo. “I’m actually looking forward to our next snowfall and to see Roo in her favorite snow pile and literally just stare at snowflakes coming down and try to catch them,” Morken said.

Nolan Schmidt

Written by Nolan Schmidt

Nolan is the Co-Editor of Fargo Monthly. Schmidt is also the Editor of Spotlight Media's Bison Illustrated publication. He is originally from Bismarck, N.D. and is a proud graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead.

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