Stolen therapy dog comes home thanks to social networking

Posted Posted by Carolina in Working dogs     Comments No comments

SAN DIEGO – There’s a heartwarming follow-up to a story that upset many News 8 viewers. Bella the seizure dog is safe and sound, and back with her Point Loma family.

The Doberman pinscher was missing for 12 days. Now police are going to look into the possibility it was an inside job.

The lost dog signs were posted all over San Diego. Brian Margarita needed his beloved Bella home because when the seizure dog barks at night, she wakes up the single father so he can rush to the aid of his nine-month-old daughter Reece, who suffers from epilepsy.

“There is material stuff, and then there is stuff that matters, and this is stuff that matters,” Brian said.

Brian knew Bella had been stolen. How else did she get out behind two locked gates?

“This dog has never run away, she is very attached to me and the family and Reece,” he said.

Using Facebook, Brian reached out to people across the country.

“I have had some crazy calls. I’ve had five or six ‘Dog Whisperers,’ I’ve had people telling me everything,” Brian said.

But finally the winning tip came in and Brian says his bitter ex-girlfriend asked a friend of hers to take the dog to a Lakeside home out of spite. That’s where Brian says he and sheriff’s deputies found Bella.

“When the story first broke, I had three or four friends tell me that they thought maybe that’s what could have happened, and I thought, no way, no way could anybody do that,” he said.

Even though Brian calls the plot evil, Bella’s disappearance has unveiled the good in the world as well.

“I had a stranger in Orange County PayPal me $1,000 to double the reward,” he said.

Even the girl who called Brian with Bella’s whereabouts has no interest in the reward.

“You know it’s nice to see people do the right thing, because it’s the right thing,” Brian said.

The happy homecoming was a relief for Brian’s nanny as well, who thought maybe she had left a gate open. Now the family is back together, and Bella’s the best holiday gift of all.

“I think this is what Christmas is about. There is nothing I want on my wish list — this was it,” Brian said.

Brian says police will investigate the alleged dog-napping, and charges could follow.

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