Hundreds of volunteers have spent the past month helping a Southington family find their beloved dog.
“I think because of all the noise that day, they opened up the door and teddy scooted outside,” said Gary Grindle, Teddy’s owner.
Just like that, 4-year-old Labradoodle "Teddy" escaped, while contractors were working at the Grindle home.
“We started the search that night and it lasted 33 days,” Grindle said.
Gary and his wife took to social media, and the search for Teddy exploded.
“There were dozens if not hundreds of people putting up posters. It just blew up,” Gary said.
The Grindles enlisted the help of volunteer organization "Connecticut Doggone Recovery."
“We started working with the owners. We set some cameras up for them,” said Carol Ferucci.
And for more than a month, people reported sightings, but no one could bring Teddy back to his family.
“After 30 days, in my heart I had given up hope,” Gary said.
But then Monday night, the phone rang.
“What gave me real hope is she said she read the number on the tag, so I knew it had to be Teddy,” Gary said.
Gary got in the car and drove to the home of Tiffany DeJesus in Bristol. Two of her children had spotted Teddy near their home in Bristol, and they were able to get him in the house, and then call his owner.
“He got really emotional he was crying and I don't know what he was doing and he was like shocked because I was like do you know a dog named teddy,” Tiffany said.
Tiffany and her family didn't know about Teddy or the reward that was offered, but Gary felt he had to do something for them.
“I gave them a nice check and I asked the children, the little boy what he would do with it, and he said ‘I need to fix my mom's car, her fuel pump is broken,’ and I just thought that was an amazing boy,” Gary said.
Gary got teddy in the car, and called his wife and daughter Natalee.
“He said guess who I have in the car with me and I said teddy and we just started crying,” said Natalee.
He also called his contractor, the one who had been home when teddy got out.
“I work with these people for this and to let this dog go, to me I felt guilty all this time, now that the dog is back, I start to relax,” said Juan Villafane, the contractor.
Villafane wanted to do something else, too. He didn't want Tiffany to have to use the reward money to fix her car, so not only did he tell Tiffany he would fix it, he also is giving another reward to the two children who found Teddy.
He is giving them brand new bikes. Even more special, because one of them just had their bike stolen.
“I put it back near my steps and when I went to put it back under the porch it was gone,” Tiffany’s children said.
“I do it for them, for the kids, so that way they learn in the future, anything they do good, they'll always be good to them in the end,” Villafane said.
A happy ending for a story that brought the entire community of Southington together.
“It was such a relief I was so happy for the family,’ Ferucci said.
“I don’t think I ever realized how much goodness there is out there,” said Gary.
Natalee had a message for the people who brought her best friend home.
“I would say thank you and you're the best person in the world, besides Teddy,” Natalee said.
Teddy got checked out at the vet on Tuesday.
Besides some ticks, and being underweight, he's doing well.
The Grindle family is planning to have a party this summer to thank everyone who helped, and to give people a chance to meet Teddy.
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