Almost seven weeks ago, on October 9th, J.J. Pierce, a Philadelphia high school teacher, left her beloved dog Louie locked in her 2001 Honda CR-V while she ran into a South Philly Home Depot to copy a set of keys. Although she was gone for less than ten minutes — when she returned her car was gone, and her dog along with it. Her car was located in North Philadelphia a few days later with Louie’s collar in it, but her dog nowhere to be found.
What transpired over the next several weeks was heartwarming and inspirational. Pierce started a community Facebook page, Help Get Louie Home, which ended up amassing over 16,000 supporters and a team of volunteers who worked tirelessly by reaching out to local shelters, raising money, and posting flyers and billboards to help find her dog.
Admittedly, the situation looked grim. At best, the dog had been let roam without its collar as to not be identifiable to the theft of the car. At worst . . . Well, Philadelphia’s underground dog fighting scene is still enough of a problem that I won’t leave my dog tied up outside of a store or cafe for even a minute while I run inside. But neither Pierce — who posted daily photos and updates — nor her volunteers gave up hope, and miraculously Louie was finally returned to her on Friday. She writes in this Facebook post from Saturday:
Louie is doing well. I feel like I am literally watching him come back to life before my eyes as he slowly regains energy and strength. The last 43 days will forever remain a mystery, and that is just a reality I need to accept. I wish I was able to tell you his story, as it’s clear he has been through quite a bit in his time away from home.
All I know is this: We were contacted with a tip that someone knew his location, photo confirmation was sent, and the incredible team of people working with me jumped into action and met up with the amazing people that then delivered my boy. I was unaware of everything that was taking place behind the scenes until I got a call from a member of my team last night telling me that we finally had a good lead and that I needed to come meet an informant immediately. I showed up fully expecting a shady discussion in a car, not even remotely anticipating the beautiful reunion that was about to take place. Louie recognized me before I recognized him, and it wasn’t until he was nuzzling my face that I realized it was actually him. I began to sob as I heard my team tell me that he had already been scanned for a chip and his identity had been confirmed. We were in the parking lot of the Animal Hospital with a room ready for Louie. He was pronounced emaciated but in good health, aside from a raw spot where the remnants of his harness (!) had been cutting into his skin. Following his check-up, I was told I could finally bring my Louie home.
For the last 24 hours, Louie has mostly been sleeping. He wakes up for food, short walks, and grants me an occasional lazy tail flap when I pass by. He got a bath today, but it will take a few more of those before the smell of the last six weeks goes away. He is regaining strength by the second, and even had the energy to squeak his favorite toy a few times before falling back to sleep! Watching his recovery has been and is going to continue to be absolutely surreal and miraculous. He truly didn’t have much time left.
You can read the whole thing here, if you’re not already completely in tears. As someone who has been following this story since near the beginning, I can’t stress how happy I am to report a happy ending. If you’ve got a dog, now would be a good time to go hug it.