It was business as usual at the Streamvale Open Farm in east Belfast in Northern Ireland. Visitors to this popular family attraction are welcome to take the dogs for a walk as a way of exercising them.
But a male visitor on a Saturday in September had a more sinister plan in mind when he took Pepsi, the nine-week-old Cocker Spaniel/Labrador cross for a walk. Judith Morrow who lives and works on the farm, got a sinking feeling when she could not find the Cockador puppy. “It was a horrible empty feeling when it began to dawn on me that the puppy hadn’t been misplaced, but had been stolen,” she said. “You hear all these horrible things about people stealing dogs from puppy farms.”
She hastily started a campaign to find Pepsi on Twitter and Facebook and received overwhelming support.
“There were literally hundreds of thousands of people contacting us saying that they were going to look out for him,” she said.
The person who had taken the puppy dog, contacted them on Facebook and was very unhappy about all the commotion. Yes, he had taken the dog, but he was going to look after it. So, what was the big deal?
“He said that because everyone was getting so ‘het up’ he would bring it back,” Mrs. Morrow explained.
The Morrow family arranged a meeting with the dog-napper at the park on Saturday evening. The daughter’s boyfriend went to Moat Park and saw the man at the goalposts.
The dog-napper then ran away and left the dog behind.
The Morrows decided not to press charges against the dog thief. They don’t know his identity anyway and in the end he did the right thing. With Pepsi safely back where she belongs, there is no need for retribution or more upheaval. The safety of the dog was the main issue and once that was achieved, they could show the big hearts of real dog lovers and offer forgiveness. They believe that the person wanted a puppy so badly and thought that because he could not pay for one, it would be somehow okay to take one from the Open Farm.
Pepsi has been adopted by a family with two children in Belfast and she will be leaving soon. The Morrows know the family very well and expect to see Pepsi grow into a big strong Cockador.
But The Morrows will definitely be more careful in the future about allowing people to take the dogs for a walk. “We are going to have to be tighter on our service of allowing people to walk the dogs but we will still let them. It has never happened before and will hopefully never happen again,” Julia Morrow said.
Article and image source: Belfast Telegraph