It's been a traumatic and deeply strange week for Crawford and Mary Clay Gupton. After last week's ice storm, someone sawed the lock off the gate of their Fort Worth backyard and stole Heidi, their greater Swiss mountain dog. Then the thief, using the handle dogthedogsaver, took to Reddit to taunt the Guptons.
"Hi there Asshole," the thief wrote in their original post before attacking the Guptons for leaving their dog outside for hours in cold, icy weather and more generally allowing it to live in squalor and neglect. "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."
The Guptons say -- and there's no evidence to suggest otherwise -- that they are responsible pet owners who were merely giving Heidi the opportunity to do what a greater Swiss mountain dog is bred to do, which is to run around in the cold. Both were taken back by the hostility that flowed their way, from dogthedogsaver and her allies on Reddit.
"We know what kind of dog owners we are and how unbelievably spoiled are dog is," Crawford Gupton told Unfair Park this morning.
Dogthedogsaver isn't quite ready to admit that, but once the narrative began to shift, from Heroic Redditor rescues freezing pup! to Vigilante asshole steals couple's beloved pet!, she decided to return the dog.
The hand-off went down on Thursday evening in the parking lot of the Central Market at Hulen Road and Interstate 30. Gupton says it was arranged by a Reddit moderator, who was going to act as a neutral party, retrieving Heidi from dogthedogsaver, then handing her over to the Guptons.
But that's not quite how things went down. The Guptons showed up at the appointed time and waited for an hour. The moderator, who they watched from a distance, was getting antsy, saying he would have to leave to get back to his family, when they spotted Heidi being walked through the parking lot by a young woman.
"Screw this," Gupton remembers thinking. "Screw the moderator... I can just run over there and take the dog."
Mary Clay got to Heidi first. Crawford was close behind, peppering the mystery woman with questions about her identity and why she took the dog.
The woman didn't answer, but according to WFAA she later took to Reddit to taunt the Guptons just a little bit more. "They charged me and demanded my name," the comment read. "So much for no confrontation or questions.
"Oh [by the way], I gave them money to repair the lock and the first words out of her mouth were 'give me THE [expletive] dog!' Way to be personally attached to your sweet puppy ... I'm done here. Please take better care of Heidi going forward."
Dogthedogsaver's profile has since disappeared from Reddit.
Gupton says Fort Worth PD is on the case (they have yet to return calls seeking comment) and that they have "a really strong lead." If and when the thief is caught, Gupton says he plans to pursue criminal charges, unless the thief comes clean and agree to move away once their lease is up.
"If they were to apologize and just admit what they did -- and I'm serious -- I would not press charges."