OLDSMAR, Fla. (WFLA) - They call them man's best friend for a reason. Ask anyone who has a four-legged family member and they'll tell you.
There's something magical about having a dog in your life. They make everything better.
Sandra Garcia and her family know this firsthand after they fell head over heels with a gentle soul who has become the love of their lives.
She's a 2-year-old German Shepherd named Luna, and she's all heart.
She doesn't have a mean bone in her body, and most days, you'll find her happy and ready to cuddle for a good nap, while angling for a belly scratch.
That's why Sandra doesn't understand why someone would commit such a vicious and cruel crime.
Luna was shot Saturday morning near the family's Oldsmar home.
The shooter is still out there.
As Sandra talks about it, she shakes her head, bewildered and brokenhearted.
"She's gentle in nature, not capable of hurting anybody," said Sandra.
It all started Saturday morning.
Luna was outside in the predawn hours with Sandra's husband. He was packing up to go on a fishing trip and Luna was nearby supervising.
Somehow, in the dark, she slipped out and went missing for a brief time.
When Sandra woke up a few hours later, her heart stopped when she saw Luna terrified at the back door.
Sandra says her sweet pup's face told a terrifying story, eyes wide with fear.
The German Shepherd was scared and crying, covered in blood. At first, Sandra thought Luna had been attacked by an animal.
She scooped up Luna, wrapped her in a blanket and rushed her to the vet. Sandra was not prepared for what she heard when she arrived.
Her veterinarian told her that Luna had been shot.
"I [saw it] on her face. Her face just changed. And, I couldn't believe it. Shot? How can that be," she asked.
Someone, between the hours of 6 a.m. and 8 a.m., shot Luna with a pellet gun.
It nearly killed her.
The pellet came close to piercing Luna's heart. When Sandra saw the x-ray, it took her breath away.
She says this was no accident.
That's when this mama went all kinds of mama bear and begin knocking on doors in the neighborhood.
"I made the rounds. Next thing I know, I have ten neighbors outside," she said.
Her Oldsmar neighborhood is packed with families and children. Everyone who lives here loves animals. It is such a tight-knit community, they even know the names of each other's dogs, including Luna.
People want to know who did this and they won't stop until they get answers.
The family has passed out fliers and they are working with the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.
"Whoever did this needs to be held responsible. This was our family member. What happened was not right."