Kelowna couple reunites with their dog with help from Vancouver’s less fortunate - InfoNews

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Kelowna couple reunites with their dog with help from Vancouver’s less fortunate

Luc the dog sits on his favourite spot on Tim Spiegel's shoulder after being reunited with his family on Feb. 3, 2019.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Lesley Spiegel
February 04, 2019 - 8:30 AM

VANCOUVER — A Kelowna couple caught a glimpse of back alley life in Vancouver while searching for their dog which was stolen on Thursday.

The dog, Luc, was reunited with his family Tim and Lesley Spiegel yesterday morning, Feb. 3, after a woman called them at about 6 a.m. with a tip that lead to his safe return. The little white Coton de Tulear with a hernia on his belly had been stolen in a smash-and-grab from the couple’s parked vehicle.

On Thursday, when they returned to their vehicle, parked on Main Street and 15th Avenue, the Spiegels found the window smashed in, and their dog gone. They put out a $2,000 reward, no questions asked, for the return of their beloved pet. Then it was off to the streets with missing posters, and asking anybody if they knew anything.

Lesley, a Kelowna event planner, says she and her husband hadn’t eaten or slept since Thursday. They cancelled their vacation plans to search for him. She also says in searching for her dog she saw things that she had never seen before, and talked to people she never would have talked to otherwise.

“I’ve never spoken to a drug addict; I’ve never been down an alley and seen people sniffing cocaine in front of me — I’ve never done that,” she says in a phone interview. “And I wasn’t frightened. Not for a second did I have any fear, and not for a second did I feel threatened.”

They were led to Robson Street on a possible lead Saturday night, but then they got the call this morning from a woman who claimed she saw the dog on Cordova Street that evening.

“She described him pretty accurately,” Lesley says. “And she wasn’t sure where the building was, but she said we could pick her up and she would drive us to the building.”

The woman took them to a housing unit on Cordova, and when they arrived she was too scared to go in the building, but Lesley walked right in as soon as someone opened the door to go out.

“I didn’t think about my own safety or what was going to happen,” she recalls. “The rest of the group outside was shouting at me ‘Don’t go in; it’s dangerous; you’re going to get into trouble.’”

But she couldn’t hear what they were saying so she used a potted plant to keep the door open while she went back to the group for just a minute to hear their message.

Unbeknownst to her the building’s manager was watching the whole thing on a surveillance camera. He came down and started shouting at her thinking she was trying to steal the plant.

But when she told him the story, that someone had seen a dog in this building and he went in to investigate. No dogs were allowed in this building.

Luckily they had a room number, but when the manager came back he said that the person who normally stayed in the room wasn’t there, someone else was and they had seen a dog.

Then they got the phone call. It was a man who later admitted that he stole the dog.

"I don’t think he was sober in any formal function,” Lesley says.

He bartered with them on the reward, refusing to show them the dog unless they gave him $100 in good faith. Naturally, they wanted to see the dog before handing over the money.

Lesley recalls, “I said in a text ‘Are you screwing with me? Because I am in enough pain and I really don’t need a prank text at this time.’ And he said, ‘No I wouldn’t do this I know that you’re in a lot of pain.’ I said ‘All I want is my dog back no questioned asked.’”

They settled on giving him a gift card loaded with the $100.

Then just as one of their search party was about to hand over the gift card’s code, they got another call from the building manager saying, “I have your dog.”

“So we raced back to the building, he took us up to another room,” Lesley says. “There were stickers all over the door and it was pretty sketchy and I heard a dog barking and I said ‘Luc! Luc!’”

The door opened and Luc came flying out. Lesley flipped the ten-pound dog over to see his underbelly, and sure enough there was his little hernia.

“And I went, ‘Yep, it’s our dog.’”

By 9 a.m. Lesley’s daughter, Andrea, had posted on Facebook that they were reunited.

 

Lesley says that everyone is still “shaken" but Luc seems healthy and was lying in his favourite spot on Tim’s shoulder.

“We’re just really grateful,” she says. “I mean it’s been an awful ordeal but we’ve met some angels and there’s some really good people out there.”

Even though losing her dog was a difficult time, she felt in searching for him she found an outpour of compassion for those living on the streets.

“I really feel we have to do more for these people who are down and out on their luck,” Lesley says. “Because they’re genuine people, they’re people like us. The common story we’ve heard from the homeless is, ‘you know it’s one thing to steal, but it’s not cool to take somebody’s pet.’”


To contact a reporter for this story, email Shelby Thevenot or call (250) 819-6089 or email the editor You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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