A blind man in Beijing felt the world collapse around him when strangers snatched his beloved guide dog off the street and stuffed her into a van. Camera footage recorded the act and caught the van's plates, but the the dog's owner, Tian Fengbo, could do little more than search with friends and family.
Dognapping is not uncommon in some areas of China. Thieves will often sell the dogs or kill them and sell them for their meat, according to officers for South China Morning Post
. This particular dog, named Qiaoqiao, would have likely met the same fate if her captors had not had a change of heart.
Thirty-five hours after she was stolen, Qiaoqiao was deposited back at Tian's massage clinic with a note around her neck. It read "Please forgive us." Police suspect they returned the dog in response to the unusual level of interest in her disappearance. Qiaoqiao is one of only ten service dogs in Beijing
and one-hundred in the entire country. Many people were heartbroken at the thought of these partners of six years being separated.
Nevertheless, Qiaoqiao was returned unharmed, if a little dehydrated. In a phone interview, Tian told the New York Times
She is doing well. Last night she was a bit low spirited, but now she’s fine. She’s right beside me, bouncing and vivacious.
Tian burst into tears when he learned of his dog's return, and we're sure Qiaoqiao felt just as relieved. "Honestly, they were kind to send the dog back," he said. "I care more about the welfare of animals, especially guide dogs, than about finding the perpetrators." Since the whole terrible ordeal, Qiaoqiao has refused to leave her human's side.
H/t Metro, Featured Image via Tian Fengbo/New York Times + South China Morning Post