OUR STORY; FROM TRAUMA TO TRIUMPH:
It all began last month one of my worst nightmares as a pet owner became a reality. A criminal broke into my San Francisco home and stole two of my ten week old female French Bulldog puppies named Indigo and Lila, right from their pen!
If this situation was not bad enough, imagine my fear when the only clues left behind were a man's dress shirt, and a glass drug pipe. I immediately feared my puppies were now in the hands of someone under the influence of drugs and would likely be pawned off for another fix. My heart completely sank, I was numb with fear and terrified for my puppies safety.
I immediately sought the support of anyone who would listen over social media. I created “stolen posters” and posted them all over Facebook and Next Door social media apps. I contacted the police to make a report, but was told authorities were quite busy, and it could be a while until they collected my report. I felt entirely alone.
To my great surprise, hundreds of people got involved, walking the streets, hanging posters, and talking to neighbors. My Facebook post was shared with friends of friends and the search went viral. Within a few hours I had my first solid lead, the puppies had been seen on video at a local 7-11 convenience store, the thief literally had the puppies up on the shop counter, people took video of the incident as they found the scene to be very odd. With this video, we instantly had a description of the suspect, including some distinguishing features that lead us to believe the suspect may have been experiencing homelessness.
The rest of the evening and into the early morning hours were spent walking the streets and visiting homeless encampments desperately attempting to locate my babies. Sadly they were nowhere to be found. Exhausted and defeated I returned home feeling hopeless.
The next morning started with a visit from a police officer who helped me file a report. I then took to the streets once more to search, only breaking long enough to meet with a television news reporter that also collected my story. My phone started to blow up with messages of concern and support. Multiple sources had spotted the suspect pointing us toward one particular homeless encampment. One of the messages that came in claimed they overheard the suspect sell one of my puppies to a car passing in the Mission neighborhood. Reading this tip I could feel my eyes start to well up, if it were true, I figured one of my babies could be anywhere by now and my chances of ever seeing her again started to fade.
Across The Bay, the Flores family posted on Next Door that they had purchased a puppy under suspicious circumstances, and wanted to find the rightful owner. Simultaneously the Flores family were made aware of news reports, and were given my contact information.
Sharon Flores wasted no time, she called me and confirmed she had one of my babies safe and sound. Sharon explained she and her family were approached by a man offering to sell her a puppy. Sharon knew in her gut the situation was not right, and attempted to buy both of the puppies to ensure their safety. Sadly the suspect would only give one up.
Sharon and I discussed her family's dream of getting a French Bulldog, and although she desperately wanted to gift the puppy to her daughters Luna, 15 and Zela Lee, 12 she knew getting the puppy to its rightful owner and being a role model to her children was far more important. Sharon and her family agreed to meet with me where they purchased the puppy to return her. Sharon's entire family even offered to help me search for the other puppy, and ended up being instrumental in contributing information that ultimately led to me successfully locating my other puppy!
When the Flores family handed over Indigo, I immediately started to cry. Before I knew it everyone was crying. I was so moved by their selfless actions, I could tell it was an equally emotional event for them too. As I looked into the Flores girl’s’ eyes, I made a promise that I would help them get a French Bulldog puppy of their own.
Any amount will help me to keep my promise, and will be so greatly appreciated.
Doug, Lila & Indigo.
- Louella Faria
- Beth Devener
- Rebecca Krunich
- Ian Goldstein
- Margaret K. Reyes
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