There was an emotional homecoming Monday night when a woman was reunited with her dog several hours after the beloved pet had been stolen earlier in the day while out with a dog walker in Boston's Beacon Hill neighborhood.
“She’s a little tired,” Maura Howley said of her 11-pound dog Rose McNugget who was found walking alone in the city's Mattapan neighborhood hours after the dognapping. “I think she had a big adventure today.”
Howley rescued her terrier mix from Puerto Rico five years ago, and she never expected that her dog would need to be rescued again, but someone swiped the 10-year-old dog around noon time.
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Dom Mariano, the dog walker, said he had just picked Rose up and was walking a group of dogs as he usually does. He tied Rose and and three other dogs to a fence and then walked to a neighboring home so he could pick up one more for the pack. As he came out of the house with the other dog, a blue Honda Civic drove at a rapid speed down the street. As he got to the corner, a construction worker told him someone had jumped out of the car, walked right up to Rose, untied her from the other dogs and snagged her.
"Then they jumped in their car and took off," Mariano said. "I called 911 and I called the mother."
He said police arrived within minutes, and were able to obtain a surveillance image of the car. But they didn't have a clear license plate number. Mariano said they were looking for two young men between the ages of 18 and 20.
Mariano says the suspects probably targeted Rose because they thought they could make some money.
“It’s not like they just unclipped her real quick,” he said. “They had to untie her from the other dogs to get her free.”
“It’s a small dog, it’s easy to sell, it was wearing a sweater,” he added. “May make them think it’s a designer dog.”
Howley and her friends started posting flyers around the neighborhood Monday afternoon, alerting people to be on the lookout.
She was frantic, offering an unspecified reward and saying no questions would be asked if her dog was returned safely.
"Whoever has her please don't hurt her. I will give you whatever you want. Just bring her back. Please don't hurt her. She's my everything. She's my absolute best friend in the world."
“She’s my absolute best friend in the world,” said Howey. I’ll give you whatever you want, just bring her back, don’t hurt her, she’s my everything.”
"We just want the dog back," Mariano had added. "This is her child. It's like taking someone's kid. It's kidnapping."
Around 7:30 p.m. Monday, Howley got a call from a man who said he thought he had her lost dog.
Three men said they found Rose walking alone about 10 miles away in Mattapan. The men sent Howley photos to confirm they had the right dog.
“I said, 'that’s her, give me the address, we’ll jump in the car and we’ll come get her,'” recalled Howley of what she told the callers. “Please keep her safe, there’s a reward...just keep her safe.”
Howley says she will be giving a reward to the men who found her.
Police say they are investigating the crime but so far no suspects have been arrested.