A family in British Columbia recently had their emotions put through the wringer. After their precious pooch ran away, the heartache of repeatedly not knowing where he was put quite a damper on the holidays.
What should have been a normal Christmas season quickly turned into a nightmare. Trish Armstrong-Gibson was visiting her son in Edmonton. While she was there, she let her dog, Murphy, into the backyard. But it soon looked like that would be the last time she would ever see him again.
Murphy got loose, and started to roam the streets. After canvassing the area for six hours, the family’s search for the brown mini-Labradoodle turned up no results.
While on vacation in Edmonton, Trish Armstrong-Gibson let her dog, Murphy into the backyard. He escaped, and they couldn’t find him.
When they returned, there was a message from a man who said he’d found their dog. What seemed to be a heartbreaking ordeal for the family appeared like it would be settled before bedtime. But the phone call wasn’t all good news.
The man said Murphy had been clipped by a car. He was able to capture the dog while he was on his way to work, but just as he got ahold of Murphy, another man in a white truck approached him.
The other man said he’d be willing to take Murphy to get medical attention.
“He was like, well, he can take the dog to the vet,” Armstrong-Gibson explained to Global News. “And the other guy who found the dog, he was going to work. He said the guy looked sincere and concerned, so he [agreed].”
When the family arrived home, they received a message from a man who said he’d found Murphy. But the dog had been hit by a car, and another onlooker offered to take him to the vet.
What appeared to be an act of kindness and love for animals turned out to be something far more conniving. The man who said he’d be taking the dog to the vet left a phone number that was disconnected.
Murphy was still lost. Worse, it appeared someone had found him, and willingly chose not to return him to his owners.
The family started putting up posters everywhere. They printed flyers and stapled them around the area they believed Murphy had been seen. Armstrong-Gibson put together a social media campaign to make sure locals knew what Murphy looked like.
The man who said he’d be taking the dog to the vet gave a fake phone number, and the trail went cold. Murphy was not only missing, he was now stolen.
Trish Armstrong-Gibson hadn’t lost hope that she’d find her dog, but she realized the likelihood was fading. It was going to take a miracle to bring him home. Incredibly, she got one.
On December 28th, her phone received a call from an unknown number.
On the other line was a woman who said she’d just purchased a dog off the website Kijiji, but she now believed it was Murphy. Armstrong-Gibson asked specific questions about the dog, specifically the existence of a lump on its left side.
Everything checked out, and when the woman sent her a photo of the dog, she knew for sure it was Murphy.
“She sent a picture, and I was crying so hard I actually couldn’t see the picture,” Armstrong-Gibson said.
The family had purchased Murphy with the intention of giving it to their son as a Christmas present. They had no idea that that there was a search underway for their new dog until a friend brought it to their attention.
A woman phoned Armstrong-Gibson to tell her that she believed she had her dog. A photo confirmed it was Murphy.
The two families met in a public place and Murphy was handed over to his rightful owner. There were tears from both parties. Trish Armstrong-Gibson was happy to have him back—but the child who received Murphy for Christmas had already grown attached.
Throughout the process, Armstrong-Gibson was offering $500 for whoever could return her dog to her. When she offered that money to the family that called her, they refused.
Armstrong-Gibson urged them to take the reward and eventually convinced them to take the money and use it to purchase another dog.
When asked what they were going to name it, the little boy didn’t hesitate: “Murphy!” he said.
Armstrong-Gibson says that Murphy was a little skittish at first upon coming home, but within an hour was wagging his tail and giving everyone kisses like usual.