It’s even worse when the stolen pet is a therapy dog. Many people rely on service animals for their every day life, and losing one can be devastating to their wellbeing.
That was the case when a family’s beloved dog, a therapy dog for their three autistic sons, was stolen in June. But thankfully, he’s finally home, thanks to a stranger’s compassion.
Jen Arendt, from Rochester, Minnesota, has three autistic sons who benefit greatly from their therapy puppy, a French Bulldog named Sprinkles.
But in June, the family was left shocked and devastated after a woman stole Sprinkles right from their front yard — right out of the hands of Jen’s 14-year-old son.
According to KTTC, the woman took off on foot and got away. The Rochester Police Department asked the public for leads on the case.
The crime left Jen rattled: “It’s absolutely devastating,” she told KTTC. “I mean I thought I could leave them home alone… I can’t leave them home alone, I can’t leave valuables in my yard.”
But it was especially devastating for her sons, who couldn’t process that their dog was suddenly gone without a trace. “We all want him home safe but please this is 3 boys that just don’t understand (I don’t know who could) why their best friend was stolen from them,” Jen wrote on Facebook. “They want their best friend back.”
Making things even worse, Jen was concerned about the dog’s medical condition: Sprinkles needed ear medication, and she posted on Facebook urging the person who took the dog to take him to the vet.
Weeks passed with no sign of Sprinkles, even as the family offered a reward for her return. While the situation was heartbreaking, Jen urged her family to have faith. “I’ve always told the boys you know, Sprinkles will be returned. It will just be in God’s timing,” she told KTTC.
Her faith was soon rewarded. Recently, the family was reunited with Sprinkles in an unexpected way.
“Somebody that was dog-sitting him messaged me on Facebook, ‘Hey, I think I have your stolen French Bulldog. We’re dog-sitting him,’” Jen told KTTC. “And I was like, ‘Please send me a picture to confirm’ and they did.”
It turns out that Sprinkles had been purchased by a family in St. Paul, who didn’t realize the dog had been stolen. But Jen says that after they saw her posts on Facebook, they decided to “do the right thing” and return the dog to them.
The dognapper has still not been identified, this story still has a happy ending, as Sprinkles is home after being missing for 9 weeks. His family says that he will continue taking classes to be a therapy dog.
We’re so glad Sprinkles is home! It’s terrible that anyone would steal a dog right out of a boy’s arms, but we’re glad the new owners did the right thing and gave him back.