An Australian shepherd that went missing Wednesday when his owner’s car was stolen has been found, safe and sound, and reunited with his family.
Vancouver police tracked down Drew, the 3-year-old dog, in the stolen Subaru Legacy after an anonymous tipster reported seeing the car parked outside a local taproom on Friday. He was recovered just 2 miles from home but not before going on a bit of an adventure — according to the car’s odometer, it (and Drew, apparently) had traveled 1,266 miles in just two days.
Gail Krueger, Drew’s owner, said the pup seems unfazed. He spent Saturday napping.
“He was just very happy to see everybody,” Krueger said. “He’s kind of a really goofy, happy dog. He didn’t seem to be stressed, but he seemed tired.”
For Krueger, who volunteers with a dog rescue organization, the reunion was “wonderful. Actually almost beyond words,” she said.
“In the back of your mind, you’re always going through the incredibly horrible possibilities,” Krueger said.
Krueger had been trying to track down the owner of another missing dog when her own was stolen. On Wednesday afternoon, she’d been driving her Subaru in Vancouver’s Harney Heights neighborhood, posting flyers for a small dog she’d found wandering the area the previous evening.
She’d been hanging a flyer at the corner of 16th Street and Grand Avenue when a brown-colored sedan pulled up behind her car. A man jumped out of the vehicle and entered hers, and then both cars sped off together. Drew was in his crate in the backseat. Kruger said she doubted the thief even knew the dog was in the car when he took it.
Krueger and her boyfriend, John Prevost, alerted the Vancouver Police Department. Officer Zach Allred put out a stolen car alert, and advised the couple to spread the word on social media.
A Facebook post about the theft was shared more than 1,200 times. The odd nature of the incident — the brazenness of the car theft, along with the irony of one dog being stolen while its owner was trying to track down the home of another — also attracted attention from local print and television media.
Both Krueger and Prevost credit Drew’s homecoming to the case’s widespread attention. According to Krueger, Allred said he thinks the anonymous tipster might have been one of the people who had stolen the car and come to terms with the realization that they’d bitten off more than they could chew.
Several people also directed Krueger to a Facebook post from Country Coffee, a little coffee hut in Boring, Ore., in which the business said it was broken into Thursday night. The security footage included in the post shows what appears to be the stolen Subaru, though the car’s occupants aren’t visible.
“That, apparently, is our car. We’re kind of laughing that the dog apparently accompanied a robbery,” Prevost said in a phone interview with The Columbian. Krueger could be heard cackling in the background.
It’s easy to laugh about it, now. It appears that the only injury suffered by the dog was an upset tummy — based on the evidence left in the Subaru, the car thieves fed him a Taco Bell burrito that didn’t sit well, Prevost said.
“Other than being dog tired, pun intended, this is my same goofy dog,” Prevost said. “Absolutely no signs of trauma or changes or anything.”
Krueger said she was grateful and overwhelmed by the response from the community, adding that all of the attention given to the case may well be what made the difference and got Drew home.
As for the other little dog — the one that Krueger had been posting signs for when her car was stolen — she’s home, too. Her name is Halie.
“This could have been such a horrible tragedy,” Krueger said. “We are living in some pretty dark days, and having something turn out to have such a wonderful ending is going to make people happy.”