Woman, Abducted Dog Are Reunited

Animal Taken During Carjacking In W. Baltimore Is Back With Owner In Easton

August 21, 2009|By Jill Rosen | Jill Rosen,jill.rosen@baltsun.com

After a harrowing brush with thieves who took her dog and truck in West Baltimore, a woman was reunited with her pup Thursday morning in what shelter workers are calling "an impossible reunion."

In town on errands, Amy Gaffney of Easton says she got lost Tuesday night in West Baltimore. The 46-year-old rolled down her window around Fulton Street to ask directions of some young men.

"The next thing I know, his arm is in my car and he unlocks the door. I was so stunned, I didn't know what was going on."

One of the boys grabbed Gaffney's dog, an 11-pound, 1-year-old Lhasa apso/poodle mix named Jojo, from her lap. With the car running, she said, she jumped out, screaming for them to give back the dog.

"I just ran and tried to chase them down," she said. "I couldn't keep up with them."

When she turned back, her black Ford pickup was gone.

"They could have killed me," she said. "I didn't care. I wanted my little baby back."

Gaffney filed a police report and spent the next day worrying about Jojo. "You just don't know the sadness," she said.

Police said they have not found the vehicle, and because no weapons were involved, the incident is classified as car theft.

About 2 a.m. the next night, Melissa Garland was dropping off a friend in West Baltimore. She noticed a little dog running up the middle of the road. It stopped in front of her car.

"He kept looking at me with these sad eyes, like 'Help me,' " she said. "He was soaking wet."

Fearing the dog would get hit by a car, Garland and her friend tried to pick him up, but he scooted under a car. After about 10 minutes, they gave up. Garland walked back to her car, but still thinking about the dog she said to herself, "I have to go back."

A half-hour later, the dog was in Garland's car. And a few minutes after that, the exhausted canine was asleep in a cardboard box in Garland's garage.

She got up early to check on him. He was playful, and she started thinking about keeping him, she said, but noticed he had tags and drove him to the Maryland SPCA to see if they could find his owner. If no one came forward, she wanted to keep him.

Ian Gilmore took Garland's report. "I could tell someone was going to be missing him, just by looking at him," he said.

Gilmore saw the dog had a name tag, "Jojo," with an address but no phone number. "We were all petting on him in the office, and I said, 'We're going to find your parents, Jojo.' "

Gilmore's colleague's head popped up. "Did you just say Jojo?" she asked, "I just took a report on that dog."

By Thursday morning, Gaffney was waiting for the Falls Road shelter to open so she could claim her pup.

"We were so happy at what seemed like an impossible reunion," Gilmore said.

Shelter workers brought Jojo out to Gaffney, dropping him into her eager arms.

"His tail was wagging like crazy, and he was kissing me," Gaffney says. "I was crying and so happy."

She had brought Jojo's favorite treat - mint-flavored Tic Tacs - and planned to bring him home for a warm bath and a lot of love.

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