The American Humane Association reports that around 10 million dogs and cats go missing every year. This is a pet owner’s worst nightmare. But one dog in Quebec, Canada, got dognapped. Fortunately, the pooch was smart enough to alert pet store employees that something was off. Here’s how the dog was able to call for help.
A Strange Visit To A Canadian Store
In January 2020, a couple walked into a pet store in Gatineau, Quebec, Canada. They brought a young Australian shepherd into the store, but something seemed off.
The store, Au Royaume des Animaux, provided multiple services from training to adoption. The store employees understood animal behavior well, and they became suspicious.
One Staff Member Noticed Something Strange
It began with staff member Yves Jodoin, who worked as a sales employee and dog trainer. Jodoin recognized the couple; they usually came in to buy cat food, he told CBC News.
Jodoin assumed that they had recently adopted a new dog and were visiting for supplies, but the dog was acting strange.
The Dog Was Trying To Get His Attention
Jodoin noticed that the Australian shepherd was trying to get his attention. “The dog was barking,” he recalled. “The dog was poking and he really wanted my attention.”
For a dog who was on a routine pet store visit with his owners, he was acting afraid. Jodoin decided that something seemed off.
Was He Hungry?
At first, Jodoin thought that the dog wanted a treat. Employees at Au Royaume des Animaux are allowed to give dogs treats, and many pets will “ask” for ones if they are hungry.
But this did little to assuage the dog. “I was giving the dog cookies, but the dog was still barking,” Jodoin said.
Suspicious, Jodoin Began Quizzing The Couple
Suspicious, Jodoin began asking the couple about their dog. He asked some basic questions, such as how old he was and whether he was sterilized or not.
Then, Jodoin got more specific. He asked where they got the dog and how much the couple paid for him (as even adoptions require fees). These are facts that all dog owners should know.
The Couple Refused To Answer These Questions
When Jodoin asked the couple these questions, they avoided answering. They gave him vague statements or tried to change the subject entirely.
“They were evading the questions,” Jodoin recalled. Now, he knew that something was wrong with this situation. Was this really the couple’s dog, or was the pet calling for help?
Fortunately, Jodoin Had Help
Fortunately, another staff member, Lydia Blouin, was listening in on the conversation. While Jodoin kept the couple occupied, Blouin conducted some research on missing dogs.
She checked other adoption websites and local social media pages. If somebody had lost a dog recently, then they likely posted about it somewhere on the web.
She Found A Match
It did not take long for Blouin to find a match. On a local social media page, a similar-looking dog had been reported missing from his home in Buckingham, Quebec.
The missing dog was last seen only two and a half hours earlier near the shop. With this information, Blouin had to reach out to Jodoin.
Jodoin Had Met The Dog Before
Blouin called Jodoin over and showed him the missing pet notice. When Jodoin saw the post, he suddenly realized: he had met this dog before!
Jodoin had trained the dog when he was still a puppy. He remembered that the dog’s owner was a different woman and that his name was Vango.
Proving Vango’s Identity
Once again, Jodoin approached the couple. But this time, he called the dog by his name. At that point, I said, ‘Vango, come!'” Jodoin said.
“The dog was reacting, he was jumping,” the dog trainer recounted. “All along he was barking and poking, trying to say, ‘Hello, I’m not the dog they say I am.’”
The Couple Was Busted
At that point, the couple knew that they were busted. They claimed that they had found Vango in the woods and took him in.
According to the couple, the wife needed a support animal, but they couldn’t afford a dog. Thinking that Vango was lost, they took him in. But who knows how accurate that story is?
What Did The Employees Do Afterwards?
Blouin and Jodoin were skeptical about the couple’s story. However, they did not object to the couple. They managed to convince them to leave the dog and exit the store.
With Vango in a protected space, Jodoin and Blouin tried reaching out to his owner to tell her that they found her dog.
The Owner’s Story
Vango’s owner, Josée Francoeur, had lost her dog only two days prior. At 9 a.m. on a Monday, she let Vango out for a routine bathroom trip in her backyard.
When Vango didn’t return, she poked her head into the backyard. But Vango was gone. Since he wasn’t microchipped, Francoeur did not know how to find him.
She Did Everything She Could To Find Vango
Francoeur did everything in her power to find Vango. She posted on her local SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) site about her missing dog. She asked neighbors, family, friends, and strangers if they had seen her dog.
At one point, a local police officer offered to help and wrote up an official missing dog report for Francoeur. But after two days, nothing worked.
This Story Contradicts The Couple’s Tale
This story obviously contradicts the couple’s, who claimed that they saw Vango in the woods. It lead Francoeur to believe that someone had kidnapped her dog.
“Is it possible that someone took him?” she was wondering. She told CBC News that she was in disbelief. “And I was thinking, ‘Who could do that? It’s impossible!”
The Couple Was Going To Give Vango A New Name
The SPCA added another piece to this puzzle. On the morning when Vango was found, the couple took him to the SPCA de L’Outaouais to register the dog with a new name.
Pet registration ensures that the owner’s rights to keep their pet are protected. Did the couple know that Vango had a previous owner? Or were they just being comprehensive?
Vango Returned To His Owner
When Jodoin called Francoeur about her dog, she immediately cried tears of joy. She had just started to lose hope before that phone call.
“I can’t talk about it without crying,” she admitted to CBC News. She was convinced that she would lose her dog forever, but thanks to the kindness of strangers, she didn’t.
The Employees Got The Recognition They Deserved
Jodoin and Blouin received recognition for saving the dog. And of course, Vango was heralded for alerting the familiar dog trainer to his plight.
“Imagine, if those people didn’t go to that pet store, I would have lost my dog forever,” Francoeur later said. Fortunately, Australian shepherds are famous for being intelligent.
And Francoeur Is Filing A Police Report
Although Francoeur felt slightly guilty about it, she filed a police report against the couple. She wanted them to understand the gravity of their actions.
“I don’t want to cause them problems,” she admitted. “We don’t know why they did it. But at the same time, they took my baby. I want to discourage others from doing this.”
Can The Police Do Anything?
If you are wondering what the couple’s punishment is– so far, nothing. The Gatineau police investigated, but before pressing charges, they had to prove that the couple stole the dog.
As Francoeur mentioned, nobody truly knows why or how they took Vango. If they found Vango, they would be off the hook. An updated report has yet to be released.
Vango Will Be Protected In The Future
Now that Francoeur had Vango back, she immediately scheduled to get him microchipped. Meanwhile, the SPCA is using this incident to remind pet owners to get their furry friends chipped.
“This all could have been avoided,” Francoeur admitted. Make sure that you always keep tabs on your pets!