SALINAS, Calif. — Timid and a little think, 4 1/2-year-old Susi, a service dog from Loveland, sits quietly at the SPCA for Monterey County.
“I suffer from some pretty extreme anxiety that ends up leading to panic attacks,” Susi’s owner Eero Kanerva said. “But with her at my side, well, she’s big enough of a distraction, she’s a big distraction at my side. It mitigates a lot.”
Kanerva claims a Northern California woman vacationing in Loveland stole Susi two weeks ago, KOIN reports.
Kanerva said the two met at Union Reservoir dog park and several days later, they planned to take their dogs to Boyd Lake State Park.
On June 20, Kanerva said the two were going to the park when they stopped to grab drinks. That’s when he said the woman sped out of the parking lot with his dog.
“I don’t understand how somebody can ever do that, especially somebody that loves dogs as she apparently did,” Kanerva said. “She should know that that dog is going to be confused and lost and let alone me the owner.”
“When any animal goes missing, it is an incredibly stressful time,” SPCA for Monterey County spokeswoman Beth Brookhouser said. “And if it’s your service animal, it can be even more so.”
After some digging, Kanerva got the general location of the woman. The Monterey County Sheriff’s Office said the woman is not being identified because no charges have been filed, but Kanerva identified the woman on a Facebook page devoted to finding the dog.
On Saturday, a deputy found Susi in Watsonville, California, and brought her to the SPCA.
“I can’t wait,” Kanerva said. “It’s just the most exciting thing to anticipate right now.”
Susi will fly to Denver on Wednesday morning for a long-awaited reunion.