FORT WORTH, Texas -- The puppy her owners call "a good girl" has been through a bizarre six days.
Stolen by a stranger, taken to a new home, then seemingly held hostage as the subject of internet accusations. For her owners, it’s hard to believe 10-month-old Heidi, a Swiss mountain dog, is finally home.
It started Friday, when Mary Clay and Crawford Gupton returned to their Fort Worth home to find their dog was gone. Heidi was taken from a dog run on the side of the Gupton's home on Friday during the height of the ice storm.The dog was left outside for a few hours when the couple went to dinner.
But someone who lives nearby took a saw to a gate, and say they rescued the dog. In a posting about the missing dog on the social news site Reddit, someone posting with the handle "dogthedogsaver" said in a comment Heidi looked neglected and cold in the conditions.
The couple called it nonsense, saying the dog was bred to withstand a few hours in cold weather. They pointed to home video taken just hours earlier out in the winter elements having the time of her life.
The commenter claimed he saw Heidi in the dog run earlier in the afternoon then again six hours later. He said he called animal control and the humane society but neither could help due to the weather. The commenter then cut the lock off the dog run and took Heidi to his home.
"[...]Heidi is so much happier now," the post read. "She whines at the door when her new daddy leaves, has a huge backyard to play in and two other dogs her size to play around with. Oh, and she has a doggie door so she can go in and out whenever she wants."
You can read the full original comment here, under the headline beginning with "10 MONTH OLD GREATER SWISS MOUNTAIN..." [Warning: Foul language].
The Guptons begged to have her back. And the internet poster agreed to do it Thursday night around 7 p.m., in what sounded like a back-door business deal.
“They were in communication with someone from [Reddit], and then that person got in touch with a friend who helped them find the dog, and they arranged it... It was very loose,” Crawford Gupton said. “All of a sudden, we saw someone walk down a shopping center with a dog. Mary Clay ran toward the car and I ran after her, and this person -- I tried to get their name and everything, but I wasn’t going to do anything drastic. We got the dog, then got in the car and came home.”
The Guptons say they thought it was a friend of the thief who brought Heidi, but in their latest post the admitted dognapper said they were the one who brought her, and described the handoff as more confrontational.
The Reddit comment was updated to read "Heidi has been returned," and went on to explain another Reddit user was supposed to pick up the dog to return it to the owners, but failed to show up. So the dog thief took Heidi to meet the owners himself.
"They charged me and demanded my name," the comment read. "So much for no confrontation or questions.
"Oh [by the way], I gave them money to repair the lock and the first words out of her mouth were 'give me THE [expletive] dog!' Way to be personally attached to your sweet puppy," the comment continues. "I'm done here. Please take better care of Heidi going forward."
So what happens next? Heidi will get microchipped, and Fort Worth police will work on finding the person responsible for Heidi’s harrowing adventure. The Guptons intend to file a report.
“We actually do know now who had the dog, and they’re working through that,” Crawford Gupton said. “Let the authorities and the folks take care of their job, and for us, the dog’s home and that’s good enough for us.”
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