Hi, my name is Stout.  I’m a one-year-old French bulldog – sweet and spunky.  If you were to tell me how cute I am I wouldn’t hear you because I’m deaf.  But my lack of hearing doesn’t prevent me from having many adventures!  I like to escape my home in King William every chance I get.  I love to be chased, but I never thought it would get me into so much trouble…

One day last month, my owner decided to air out our house.  At last – the front door was open!  I crashed through my barricade and bolted through the door with my handsomely stubby legs out to the streets.  My owner lost sight of me as I turned onto Adams Street, where I stopped to munch on some grass.  It was here that, to my surprise, a black BMW drove up next to me and snagged me off the street, after the had driver moved some mysterious trash bags into the trunk!  Several neighbors watched this happen.  Nobody said anything, but, luckily for me, one of them wrote down the license plate of the car. 

Because Stout is such a beloved part of our family, it was very important to find him.  After searching the neighborhood to no avail, I had Stout’s information posted on an email blast through the Cannoli Fund.  It was through this that I was able to obtain the license plate of the BMW into which Stout had disappeared.  I soon discovered that the car did not belong to the person driving it or to its passenger.  After some digging I figured out that the two men, father and son, were criminals, both out on bail for three pending cases.  The elder is known for having doused someone in gasoline and setting him on fire, burning eighty-five percent of his body!  As you can imagine, that knowledge was frightening.  With help, I was able to also find out where these two were likely living. 

I learned that they would most likely try to sell Stout via one of the online La Pulga (flea market) sites online.  I relayed the suspected address to the police, but when officers went to the house neither Stout nor the men were there.  However, a grandmother was, and she admitted that Stout had been at the house at one point. 

I continued to post on Facebook, asking people to share my post, and we put up posters regarding Stout’s kidnapping.  Many concerned individuals and businesses offered their help.  Mezcaleria Mixtli and Restaurant Bite each contributed a potential $200 award, while Chamoy City Limits Raspas food truck offered free raspas to anyone who shared the lost dog post.  One of our neighbors even walked up to the men’s house to boldly knock on the door and ask for Stout’s return.  I contacted the Find Sassy Group, and they dispatched a picture of Stout and his kidnappers to many lost animal websites. 

A few days into my search, I was messaged at 3:00 a.m. by a local attorney willing to help.  It was clear to us that one of the men most likely passed Stout to one of his associates to have him sold, so our mission became to find the seller or buyer of the dog.  We weeded through the men’s Facebook connections, searching for any recent postings made on Craigslist and various La Pulga sites that fit Stout’s description.  The attorney and I speculated that Stout may have already been sold, or, in an effort to avoid being found out, the men or friends of theirs might have abandoned Stout in their neighborhood.  

Four days after Stout’s escape, a woman contacted me saying she had him!  Apparently she saw Stout following a random man in the street while she sat outside eating ice cream with her small children.  Exhausted and thirsty, Stout walked directly over to her children, lay down and fell asleep.  Thanks to the signs posted by helpful neighbors, this lady was able to contact me and return Stout to us.  I was nervous about meeting her.  I understood how bad the two men are and how connected they are to that neighborhood, so I couldn’t help but think that I was being set up.  I made sure to meet her in a public place.  Much to my relief, she was genuine.  I was so happy she cared enough to take him in and to find me.

Stout looked very scared and confused when he first saw me.  He was tense when I took him in my arms, but then he smelled me and snuggled his head next to my neck.  I could feel him relaxing instantly.  He fell asleep on my lap on our way home. 

When we got home, he excitedly greeted all of our other dogs.  Then he went for my granddaughter’s Beanie Baby stash – stealing one is his very favorite thing to do (after Beanie Babies, he especially loves stealing socks, and pens).  He ended up laying down on his favorite spot, and kept looking at me and wagging his little stub tail while falling asleep.  He was super tired the first twelve hours. 

So was I!