UPDATE: UIHC nurses reunite truck driver with puppy

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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) - UPDATE: The Cedar Bend Humane Society tells KCRG-TV9 that it would not euthanize a puppy abandoned to it unless it was sick and suffering or very aggressive.

Co-Director Kristy Gardner responded Friday morning to KCRG-TV9's story about semi-truck driver Robert Prichard, who was forced to leave his puppy at Cedar Bend when he suffered a medical condition.

After five days, Prichard told KCRG-TV9 the shelter told him he needed to pick up the puppy or it might be put down or given away to another family. Two University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics nurses drove to Waterloo that day to get Prichard's puppy, Bandit, and reunite them.

Gardner could not be reached for comment Thursday but tells TV9 the puppy was not in danger of euthanization, saying that action is only used in cases of suffering or aggressive animals.

"There are times that no one ends up coming forward for an animal, and in that case we would place the animal up for adoption as it could not remain at the shelter forever, which would have been the case in this situation," Gardner said in an email. "If the pup couldn't have gone back home we would have placed the pup up for adoption and found him a new home."

Garnder says Cedar Bend was working with Prichard's family to reunite him and Bandit. She denies that anyone from Cedar Bend told him Bandit would be put down.

University of Iowa Hospital nurses helped a man get his puppy back from a shelter just in time.

A truck driver had a medical emergency while driving in Grundy County and had to be taken to a hospital in an ambulance.

Inside the truck, he had to leave behind his puppy companion, Bandit.

"Called the ambulance and the Grundy County Sheriff Department had to come pick him up, I left the truck running and they told me they took him to the humane society there at Cedar Bend," Robert Prichard said.

Prichard was then transferred to UIHC where he told the nurses about the situation. He called the shelter every day to make sure his pup was OK, but then Wednesday, the shelter told him he had until 5 p.m. to pick Bandit up. He says Cedar Bend told him the puppy would either be put down or put up for adoption.

Two nurses from the hospital drove an hour and a half to Waterloo to get Bandit.

"I didn't think it was really fair for someone to lose their animal just because they were in the hospital so I wanted to do everything I could," Erin Niles said.

Prichard said it meant the world to him.

"I appreciate it and nobody has ever treated or helped me like these people have... The main thing is I got my buddy back," Prichard said.

Prichard says he'll take some time off of trucking for now, and plans on hanging out with his faithful driving companion Bandit.

TV9 has reached out to Cedar Bend for comment on its policies, but have not yet heard back.