Lifestyle & Human Interest

Local News Reporter Tracks Down Family's Missing Dog After Beloved Pet Was Stolen


If you have a pup who is an important member of the family and who travels with you, you’ve no doubt run into the same situation one family from Grandview, Texas, recently experienced.

As you set off on a road trip, especially during the summer months, you have to think about the dog. When you’re by yourself or just with other two-legged family members, it’s easy to pop in and out of stores, restaurants and bathrooms during those necessary stops along the way.

But most places won’t allow dogs in — especially restaurants. And if you pick a place without a dog-friendly patio, your options are limited.

When the Mathias family stopped for a bite to eat, they had a dilemma: what to do with the dog?

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Leaving a dog in the car in all but the coolest weather is not an option. With few other choices, the family decided to tie up their golden retriever, Lucy, to a tree near the restaurant — making sure she had shade and a bowl of water.

But while the family was inside enjoying their meal, Lucy was stolen. She was untied from the tree and taken away by a lady in a pickup truck.

Surveillance video shows the cheerful golden retriever walking along with her “new friend,” not realizing what was happening.

When the Mathiases came out and found their dog missing, they were crushed. They reached out to KHOU 11 in a desperate bid to be reunited with their golden girl.

Matt Dougherty, a reporter for KHOU 11, made it his personal mission to reunite the family. After using the license plate number to track down the woman, Dougherty appeared at her property and was shocked to see many dogs.

The man who answered the door said it was his cousin who was responsible for the dogs, and after asking some questions a boy came to the door with Lucy in tow.

“We thought it was abandoned,” the boy told Dougherty. They handed over the pup without a struggle, and Dougherty loaded her up in his car.

“Well, I don’t want to bury the lead,” Dougherty told Andrew Mathias, the father, once he got him on video chat. “I’ll go ahead and let you know we’ve got somebody in the back seat with us.”

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“What?! Oh, my God. Where’d you get her?” Mathias said. After seeing their pup on the video and knowing she was safe, Andrew Mathias posted on Facebook to share the good news.

“HUGE UPDATE: Matt Dougherty with KHOU 11 News HAS FOUND LUCY!” he wrote on Aug. 20. “We cannot thank you enough!!!!!”

After such a heartbreaking experience, the Mathiases have vowed never to leave their dog unattended in such a way again. They are happy that Lucy is back with family, and will no doubt be making their pit stop choices more carefully in the future.

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