A special needs boy from Canada has been reunited with his beloved dog after the stolen pet was returned anonymously to the child's family.
Four-year-old Lukas Smith made headlines last week when his dog Bailey was stolen in front of a grocery store in Peterborough, Canada.
"This is heartbreaking," Lukas' mother, Leslie Smith, told the Peterborough Examiner at the time. "We need this dog back."
Bailey had been given to Lukas, a special needs child who has trouble with speech and certain motor skills, as a gift from his grandparents after his father was killed in a car accident in 2010.
“Bailey really helped Lukas after his father died. They're best friends. Lukas is shy around people but he loves animals," Smith told The Huffington Post."The first thing Lukas sees when he goes to sleep and the first thing he sees when he wakes up -- it's Bailey."
Smith said that after Bailey went missing, Lukas wasn't sleeping and eating properly.
"Lukas was devastated," she said. "I was so worried. It would've been very difficult to explain to Lukas that Bailey wasn't going to come home."
Desperate, Smith said she contacted the police as well as the local radio station. She also put up posters around town, offering a $200 reward for Bailey's safe return.
Soon, many well-wishers came forward with words of encouragement. Some even offered to pay the reward money, while others said that they would cover the cost of a new dog.
"It was so refreshing," said Smith of the outpouring of support. "It's good to know that there's good people left. People were actually supportive and helped us through it. We weren't alone."
Smith believes that the widespread popular attention is what ultimately brought Bailey home.
This week, the Peterborough Humane Society received an anonymous phone call saying that the missing dog was tied to a tree near the society's office.
"They called and said they thought they had Bailey and I pretty much said, 'We'll be right there,'" Smith told the Peterborough Examiner.
The 3-year-old chihuahua-pomeranian mix has since been reunited with Lukas.
“We can’t thank everyone enough for helping Lukas get his dog back,” Smith said. “We’re so happy to have him back. We are complete once again. Lukas doesn’t know what to think about it other than puppy was gone and now puppy is back."
Smith said she isn't angry at the person who stole Bailey.
"I wasn't looking to get anyone in trouble, not looking to hold a grudge," she told The Huffington Post. "I'm more glad that they had a change of heart and brought the dog home."
Related on HuffPost:
SUBSCRIBE AND FOLLOW
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements.Learn more