In September 2017, mother-of-two Briana Martin let her Siberian husky Feather outside her home in Moline, Illinois.
But when the family went outside to check on her 30 minutes later, the dog was nowhere to be found.
“The dog was left outside on a cable that screws into the ground. He went out to get her 30 minutes later, and she was gone,” Briana said. “Her collar wasn’t there. Nothing was broken as if she had gotten lose. It appeared she had been stolen.”
To her and her kids, Feather was just another kid in the family. After Feather was missing for 24 hours, Briana filed a police report.
They searched tirelessly for weeks. But soon weeks turned into months, and the family nearly gave up hope.
Briana posted photos of Feather on Facebook, hoping someone had information or had seen her. And soon, she stumbled across a message from a mechanic shop.
The shop posted that they’d found a female husky wandering just a few blocks from her home, and that they’d be watching her until her owners were found.
The shop did not post pictures of the dog, and instead requested the owner describe the pup’s collar and eye color.
But the post was nearly three months old when Briana found it. The chances were slim, but she sent the shop a message describing Feather.
When the mechanic shop answered her though, she received more upsetting news: after watching her for a month and a half, the dog had escaped from the shop owner’s backyard when no one was home.
But that news would suddenly change months later, when Briana received a message from the mechanic shop owner.
At first, Briana thought the man messaging her had taken her dog. But as they continued to message one another, she learned the truth.
When he found the husky in September, he brought her home and put his post on Facebook, hoping his real owner would find his post and claim her.
But about a month later when no one was home, his parents came and stole Feather from his yard.
“My cousin just informed me that my parents stole your dog out of my yard,” his message said. “I don’t talk to them so I didn’t know they had her. I was given this as their address.”
Briana couldn’t believe it. “I was very shocked. I just kind of stared at my phone for a second and said ‘What?’ Once I got my bearings, I said okay, what’s their name, what’s their address. Where can I find them?”
The address was 88 miles away in Cedar Rapid, Iowa. After police received the new details, they contacted police in that area. When Cedar Rapids police arrived, they found Feather in the home.
Hours later, the Martin family picked up their dog and shared hellos for the first time in six months. They are now pressing criminal charges.
“You are looking at grand theft in some cases,” Briana said. “Animals are not cheap, and you could go to jail. Be willing to pay that price if you want to take an animal.”
As for the man who helped to reunite Feather with her family, he said he was simply happy to help. The family is forever grateful for his help in returning their dog to them.
“I wish I could know what’s gone on with her in the past six months, where she’s been, what she’s done, how she liked her first snow, but she’ll just be with us forever,” Briana said.
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