So after being missing for three months, our little four legged family member Wasabi the Yorkie finally returns home to where he belongs. I guess miracles do happen.
Since his return home two weeks ago, many friends and supporters of Wasabi have been asking how we found him and what exactly happened. While I can share with you the story of how we found Wasabi, I’m still unclear about what really happened to him after he was abducted (yes, that’s right – dognapped from the back of our property) in mid-November 2013. The story in its entirely is actually quite involved and complex, so I’ll try to be as brief as possible. Who knows, maybe after I share Wasabi’s story on this blog someone can help us figure out what really happened and help us lay our ideas and speculation to rest.
So on Valentine’s day, we received a message (indirectly – again, the story is long so I’ll spare you the details) from the Vet Hospital of Factoria that Wasabi had been taken taken in for a check up. It was the biggest tip we had received to date. We had posted flyers, posted on Craigslist, checked all the shelters, etc., but didn’t receive any clues prior. The vet was closed by the time I contacted them on the evening of Valentines Day, and I learned that they wouldn’t be open again until the the following Monday. We were left consumed with thoughts and speculations as to what might have happened to Wasabi and why he was seen by the vet. We didn’t know if he was injured, or if the dog was even Wasabi.
On Monday morning, I called the vet and was told that she sent Wasabi home with his “new owner.” How disheartening. In fact, no, WTPHO?! The vet explained to me that on Valentines Day Wasabi’s new owner brought him in for a check up and they ran his microchip. There were two contacts on the microchip and they tried to call both of them, and only got through to one. The vet stated the contact that answered the phone authorized the new owner to keep Wasabi (WTPHO?!), and naturally the vet sent Wasabi home with the new owner. Again, there’s some details that I’m leaving out for various reasons.
I then pleaded with the vet to please give me the new owner’s phone number so that I could call her and explain to her what really happened, and that Wasabi was a missing dog. The vet couldn’t give me the new owner’s contact due to privacy laws. Yes, the law applies to pets as well in case you didn’t know. This made sense, but I was one unhappy camper nonetheless.
The vet then offered to give the new owner a call and give her my phone number. She told me to refer to Wasabi as “Subi” should the new owner call me because this was the new name she had given him. Sad face. I kept my fingers crossed and as luck would have it the lady eventually called me later that day.
Wasabi’s new owner explained to me that “a friend of a friend” had given Wasabi to her a week prior. She didn’t know what his name was when she got him (I didn’t believe this because Subi sounds an awful lot like Wasabi or Sabi, as we would call him for short. Besides, Wasabi was wearing his name tag when he was abducted). The woman added that after having him for a week, her family (she had a young daughter) became very attached to Wasabi, and the friend of a friend told her she could keep Wasabi if she paid him $300, which she did. The woman began crying on the phone after I told her that I wanted Wasabi back. She said Subi had been with her family for a week and they were really attached to him. I then asked her how to imagine what it must feel like for Wasabi’s family that had been missing him for over three months, when the family had owned him and lived with him for 8 years. The woman responded by stating she understood that giving him back would be the right thing to do, but not before she said that she wanted $500 for him. She explained that $500 would cover vet costs and other costs in addition to the $300 that she paid for Wasabi. I quickly reminded her that Wasabi was a stolen dog, not a lost dog, and she abruptly changed the topic of discussion. I felt that she had me by my ball$, besides, I just wanted to see Wasabi and bring him back home, so I focused on negotiating with her and being on her good side and trying to keep her on the phone. The last think I wanted to do was to offend her too much and have her hang up on me.
Rather without much hesitation, the woman agreed to lower her initial ransom price of $500 to $300. I commented to the woman that the idea that I would have to pay $300 to get my stolen dog back sucked, hung up the phone and drove to Bellevue to meet her at the parking lot at Robinswood Park near Bellevue Community College.
The meeting with the woman felt awkward, and almost like a drug deal or something LOL. I arrived to the mutually agreed meeting place before the woman, and when she pulled up to the parking lot she quickly got out of her car and stood next to it and looked around for someone who would be me. She was wearing a Blue Tooth headset and her a young daughter (I would guess she was 5 years old) was inside the car holding Wasabi whose eyes lit up when he saw me through the window. The woman asked for the money and I handed her fifteen $20 bills. She counted them as she began crying. Yes, she was crying and I didn’t quite know what that was all about. After all, she had only had Wasabi for a week. But perhaps this isn’t fair to say because attachments to a dog could happen after just a week.
After she was satisfied with the funds, she opened the back door of the car and Wasabi jumped out of the little girl’s lap and ran towards me – his eyes were wide open like 7-11. He grabbed my legs and jumped up and down on his hind legs like he wanted to be picked up. I then picked him up and he licked my face incessantly. The woman observed all of this and I’m confident that it left no doubt in her mind that I was the rightful owner of her Subi, the dog formerly known as Wasabi. The funny thing was that when I looked at her daughter, there was no sign of sadness or unhappiness whatsoever. Oh, while the woman was counting the money, she commented, “Subi must have had a very tough life before he came to me a week ago.” I asked why and she responded, “Because he was very depressed when he first came to my home.” Fascinating.
To me, there were so manny dynamics details to what had happened that just didn’t add up. The whole thing was a little fishy to me. In hindsight, there were so many questions I could have asked her. One of the things that she did that adds to how her story was “suspect” was that when she decided to give me the receipt from the vet visit, her portion of the receipt containing her name and contact information had been ripped off. I guess I could understand why one would do that, but I guess what I’m getting at here is that if I were someone who was returning a cute little dog to its rightful owner I’d probably not worry too much about giving the owner my address and phone number, because I would be doing them a favor. But then again, she did receive $300 for Wasabi and she’s probably thinking about her safety.
So how did Wasabi end up in the woman’s home? Who really knows except for her. And was it a friend of a friend, or simply a friend who gave or sold Wasabi to the woman. Or was Wasabi even sold to her? Maybe he was given to her? And was it by a friend of a friend or simply a friend? Or did woman herself take Wasabi from our home? These are some of the more obvious questions that come to mind when I would entertain the idea of what really happened to Wasabi and try to be all CSI or Criminal Minds about it LOL. One thing’s for sure, when I take Wasabi outside to do the one or two, or for a walk around the neighborhood, I don’t like the feeling I get of not knowing what happened or who dognapped him months ago. Sometimes I get a little paranoid and think that the sweet lady who’s watering her plants across the street could’ve been the person who took Wasabi last November. But I know I mustn’t exist in this way; I can’t live in fear.
What I’m happy about today is that Wasabi is back with us where he belongs and that he’s in one piece and relatively healthy. Due to his stature (5 pound stud LOL) people think he’s a puppy, but he’s actually 8 years old which makes him an old man. LOL again. But don’t let his old age fool you, Wasabi is still full of energy and can jump on couches and into my car from the sidewalk just like he did when he was a young buck. My goal is to keep this going as long as possible and the trick might be to avoid feeding him too much human food LOL..
Well, there you have it — the condensed story of how Wasabi returned home that turned into a rant. Again, certain details were left out, but if we should bump into each other at a coffee shop or pho shop (WTPHO?!) in Columbia City or Beacon Hill maybe I can fill in the gaps.
Thank you, friends and neighbors, for reading this and for all the positive thoughts and overwhelming support throughout this journey with a photastic ending. Wasabi and our family truly appreciate it, and we look forward to seeing you around the neighborhood. Woof!