Guardian Paws: How a Heroic Dog Thwarted a Kidnapping and Challenged Misconceptions

A five-month-old Australian shepherd named Vango may have contributed to his own rescue when he alerted staff at a pet store in Gatineau, Que., about his alleged dognapping.

According to Yves Jodoin, a staff member and dog trainer at Au Royaume des Animaux, Vango visited the store on Monday with a couple who normally came to buy cat food.

“The dog was barking, biting and really wanting my attention,” Jodoin recalled.

Jodoin said she instantly became concerned when the couple didn’t seem to know basic facts about the dog: its exact age, whether it had been spayed, what kind of food it ate and how much they had spent on it.

“They were dodging the questions,” Jodoin added. “I was giving the dog cookies, but the dog kept barking.”

Reported missing

Meanwhile, a co-worker proceeded to check social media for cases of stolen dogs and soon a photo of Vango appeared. The dog had been reported missing from his home in Buckingham, Que., just two and a half hours earlier.

It was then that Jodoin suddenly realized that he already knew the dog: he had trained Vango when he was a puppy.

“At that moment I shouted: ‘Vango, come!’ And the dog reacted, he jumped,” Jodoin remembers. “The whole time he was barking and biting, trying to say, ‘Hey, I’m not the dog they say I am.’”

The couple said they had found the dog in the woods. The woman informed Jodoin that she wanted to keep the dog as a support animal since she was in terrible health and could not afford to acquire and train a dog.

“I can’t talk about it without sobbing,” Francoeur said of the moment he received Jodoin’s call.

Francoeur claimed the dog disappeared after she let him out to go potty in her enclosed yard around 9 a.m. Monday. When she stuck her head in the door, Vango, who did not have a microchip, was gone.

“Is it possible that someone kidnapped him? And he asked me: ‘Who could do that? It is impossible!”

Francoeur quickly put a notice on the SPCA’s local missing animals site and on other social media accounts. Through tears, he explored his area and asked everyone he knew if they had seen his dog. At one point, a police officer stepped in to help and wrote an official missing dog report.

He was starting to lose hope when his phone rang.

“Imagine, if those people hadn’t gone to that pet store, I would have lost my dog ​​forever,” Francoeur added.

She has now filed a police report because she wants the couple to understand the consequences of their actions.

“I don’t want to give them problems. We don’t know why they did it. But at the same time they took my baby from me,” Francoeur added. “I want to discourage others from doing this.”

Gatineau police said they are investigating, but would need to establish that the couple intentionally stole the dog, rather than discovering it, before filing charges.

The L’Outaouais SPCA, where the couple had gone that morning to Vango to register the dog with a new name, is taking advantage of the demonstration to warn dog owners to microchip their dogs.

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