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Three hours after my story about Suzie — an elderly dog who was stolen outside the McDonald’s restaurant near SkyTrain’s Main Street-Science World Station — was published, she is now home with her rightful owner.
And I’m the one who found her.
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I learned about Suzie’s theft this afternoon through a social media post from a local rescue group, Thank Dog I Am Out (just two days ago they warned about a rise in dog thefts), as well as Kim Monteith, a longtime BC SPCA staffer who runs Charlie’s Foodbank in the Downtown Eastside.
Surveillance footage from the restaurant captured the pooch being taken by a woman near the SkyTrain station late Thursday night.
Daily Hive’s story and social media post about Suzie’s dognapping Friday afternoon reached tens of thousands of people in Vancouver and was shared hundreds of times in just a few hours.
So it was completely dumb luck when I stepped out of my car after work to see the woman in the video walking right past my house — with Suzie.
Without giving it
any a lot of thought, I ran after her, and caught up with the woman a block away. And then I felt weird and sheepish because, even though the dog has really distinct markings, I wasn’t 100% sure it was her.
So I called out Suzie’s name, and thankfully she turned around and wagged her tail. That was the confirmation I needed to go full-on mama bear.
— Darcy Matheson (@darcynews) July 6, 2019
I asked the woman where she got the dog. I told her people were worried about Suzie and were searching for her. I told her I wanted the dog, that I wasn’t going to let her leave — and that I was going to call the police.
She was surprisingly upfront and admitted that she took Suzie.
The woman told me she believed she was “saving” the dog. She told me what she had fed Suzie since taking her home (a bowl of soup and some crackers) and also gave me her name. And then she handed over the leash and started quickly walking down the road.
But while I was on the phone with a Vancouver Police Department (VPD) operator, something unexpected happened: the woman came back. She stood two feet away from me on the sidewalk the entire time I was on the line with 911, and stayed with me until the plain-clothed officers arrived about 15 minutes later.
I left Suzie — and the woman — with the VPD officers and headed home, after getting assurances both would be taken care of. But not before getting the very nice officer to take a photo.
I tried calling the dog’s owner but couldn’t reach him. But the BC SPCA did, and captured this great photo of Mario being reunited with Suzie this evening.
Please, please, please don’t leave your dogs unattended outside.