It started as a Icemageddon mystery. Sometime between 6 and 9 p.m. on Friday night, a 10-month-old Greater Swiss Mountain Dog named Heidi went missing from her Fort Worth back yard. Her owners canvassed the neighborhood and put up fliers but to no avail. Finally, on day three, they turned to Reddit.
"After thinking she busted through the gate, the police have confirmed the locked horseshoe latch to her run was sawed off," wrote Reddit user CGDarden, who says he's not the dog's owner. "The elements of the bad roads, time in the evening, and the fact that her dog run is completely unseen from the street have left us at a total loss as to who could do this."
The mystery was short-lived. Within hours, another Reddit user, dogthedogsaver, fessed up, admitting that he'd cut the lock and taken the dog. He posted a photo showing Heidi in good spirits.
That's not to say that he was apologetic.
"Hi there Asshole," his post began. "You don't really know me and I don't really know you but I have seen you a few times over the last few years. Mostly when you'd let your old dog shit in my lawn and also when your new one would do the same. Thanks for leaving it all for me to pick up too. I really appreciated it."
Dogthedogsaver goes on to explain that, as he cut through the owner's car port on Friday afternoon, he'd spotted Heidi sitting alone in her driveway. "It might have been because it was 20 degrees out or maybe it was because she had no food, water or blanket. Who knows."
He says he called the Humane Society and animal control but that no one would come out because of the weather. That evening, he took action.
"Not wanting such a sweet dog to freeze to death I headed home, grabbed some tools and headed back. It's now been close to 7 hours since I first saw her, temps are in the teens and that poor dog is ice cold," he wrote. "I cut off the lock [and] took her home."
Dogthedogsaver describes her as "thin and malnourished" and says she "doesn't even recognize her own name, doesn't know how to play with toys, is covered in a film of filth and has a crap ton of fleas," then informs Heidi's former owner that he's keeping her.
"Btw, what happened to your other dog? Not that it really matters anyway because Heidi is so much happier now. She whines at the door when her new daddy leaves, has a huge back yard to play in and two other dogs her size to play around with. Oh, and she has a doggie door so she can go in and out whenever she wants."
With that, Reddit erupted. The original lost-dog post climbed up the charts, netting nearly 4,200 comments, some pouring invective on CGDarden for being a terrible pet owner (though again, he says he wasn't the owner), some questioning whether dognapping was the proper recourse. One user, DavidMoor, said he knows the owner, whom he described as a dedicated pet lover who only left Heidi outside on Friday because she loved the dog run.
In the end, Reddit's judgment won't matter. CGDarden says police have been contacted, and Fort Worth Star Telegram's Bud Kennedy reports that Fort Worth PD is on the case.
— Bud Kennedy (@BudKennedy) December 11, 2013
Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.