'It was just magic:' Grandpa drives stray dog from Texas to North Dakota to surprise grandkids

At the Parrett house in south Fargo on Monday everyone is still talking about the best Christmas ever.

The Parrett family of Fargo plays with Country the stray dog. The kids fell in love with the dog during a recent trip to Texas. The grandpa who lives there surprised the kids at Christmas, after driving with the dog over 1,200 miles.
Finn Harrison / WDAY
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FARGO — A Fargo family visiting relatives in Texas for the holidays in early December got attached to a dirty, scrappy, stray dog that refused to leave them alone.

The children fell in love with the dog and were devastated when they had to leave the little dog named "Country" behind.

That's when a Texas grandpa had an idea for his Fargo grandkids.

At the Parrett house in south Fargo on Monday, Dec. 26, everyone was still talking about the best Christmas ever.

It was Christmas morning when Country showed up at the house.


The Parrett family from Fargo made the trip to Texas to visit family in early December, when a stray dog wandered up to them.

"We were like, 'Don't touch him, we don't know if he's mean,' but he kept his distance and hung around," the children's mom, Nicole Parrett, said. "You can pet, but be careful."

The dog refused to leave, and the kids loved on it.

"He was so pleasant to the kids, and that is what won us over, but we were still like, no matter what happens, we are not taking this dog home," Nicole Parrett said.

The family bathed Country and cleaned the fleas and cockleburs from his fur.

Nicole Parrett's husband, Nathan Parret, said she asked the kids what they wanted to name him. "I was like, 'Oh man, you are going to name the dog. We are getting closer to ownership,'" he said.

And so, when it came time to leave Texas and fly home to Fargo, there was the sound of toddlers crying.

A car full of tears. They missed that dog already.


"As soon as we drove away, they were weeping, crocodile tears, it was horrible to watch," Nicole Parrett said.

But grandpa Mike Parrett, who lives in southeast Texas, put his big Texas heart to the test.

"I knew he was special," Mike Parrett said.

So he drove Country 1,250 miles, all the way to Fargo.

"I wanted to make them happyl. I knew it, it is something you just know. And I was going to make it happen," Mike Parrett said.

He surprised the kids on Christmas Day with the stray dog they had loved and had to leave behind. They screamed as they ran up to Country and hugged him.

That morning, the kids didn't know what to think. What in the world just happened?

"Immediately, they thought he was here to visit, they were still excited and they didn't realize he was ours," Nathan Parrett said.


Country fits right in with the family. He loves his naps.

"He loves to sleep so much," Nolan Parrett, who is 7, said.

Country has been checked out by a veterinarian and now has a happy, loving family — a forever home with kids who gave him a new life.

"It was just magic; our kids are at an awesome age for Christmas," Nathan Parrett said.

And Country gave them their best Christmas yet.

"I missed him. He was there, and we were downstairs for Christmas, and he was here," Nolan said.

Kevin Wallevand has been a Reporter at WDAY-TV since 1983. He is a native of Vining, Minnesota in Otter Tail County. His series and documentary work have brought him to Africa, Vietnam, Haiti, Kosovo, South America, Mongolia, Juarez,Mexico and the Middle East. He is an multiple Emmy and national Edward R. Murrow award recipient.

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