Alyssa Sanderford was going through Facebook when she spotted a post a friend had shared asking anyone if they had seen Wiley, a Chocolate Lab/Chesapeake mix dog who was taken from a dog hitching post outside a Dallas, Texas, Trader Joe’s store.
At the time she read the plea for help, the 34-year-old triathlete probably had no idea that she would soon give chase to the thief who stole Angela and Sterling Ream’s 6-year-old, 95-pound dog.
Angela, who lives five blocks from the Trader Joe’s where Wiley was taken, tied Wiley up to the post and went into the store, not knowing that someone would take her dog. The couple put up lost dog posters around the neighborhood and posted one on Facebook. Sanderford doesn’t know the Reams but they have a mutual Facebook friend, who shared the Lost dog poster on her wall. That is where Sanderford, who has two dogs of her own, first saw the poster, according to the Dallas Observer.
#Dallas #LDOT LOST DOG Wiley 11-15-2016! Dallas Co., Dallas (Greenville Ave & Sears St / Richmond Ave), TX 75206. Wiley/…
The next day, Sanderford saw a dog that looked just like Wiley, standing with a neatly dressed man by a bus stop. She parked her car and took a second look at the dog and noticed that it was wearing an orange collar, just like the dog she saw on Facebook.
She then got out of her car, walked over to the man and confronted him.
“I probably didn’t do the smartest thing. I just walked up to him and said, ‘That dog’s stolen. You need to give it back.’ He was like, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about.’ I said, ‘You took that dog last night at Trader Joe’s. Give me the leash,’” she told the Dallas Observer.
“I tried to reach for it. He got pretty angry. I grabbed the leash, and he jerked it out of my hands.”
The thief took off running, and Sanderford, a triathlete, gave chase. She removed her flip flops and started chasing the man for half an hour. She was joined by two men who were at a Goodwill drop off location but that didn’t last long, with the men warning Sanderford that the thief was “talking crazy.” Sanderford pressed on and then got some help from strangers in an SUV who told her to hop in. They gave chase for a short while but then let her out of the SUV.
Sanderford then called the police as she chased the dog thief, she told the Dallas Observer. One of the men from the Goodwill drop-off location returned with his vehicle and he gave chase to the thief and was able to take Wiley away from the man.
When the police arrived, they said that since nobody saw the man steal the dog, it would be hard to charge the man, who claimed he found the dog, with a crime. Sanderford found Angela’s phone number and called her to come pick up Wiley. Police said the man told them he is homeless.
Angela was totally taken aback by what had transpired: A total stranger coming to her stolen dog’s rescue.
“I don’t even know this girl, and she risked so much to bring our dog home to us. It’s an unbelievable story. It sounds a little silly, but it restores your faith in humanity. For the one bad guy who had her, there were so many people who reached out and cared.”
As for the man who took Angela’s dog? She isn’t going to press charges.
“To be honest, I am kind of praying for that guy. I don’t know his motives. If he’s just lonely and wanted a companion, I hope he finds one, his own. If he really needed money that badly, you have to be really desperate to steal a dog.”