When a pair of alleged dognappers brought Vango, a five-month-old Australian shepherd into Au Royaume des Animaux pet store in Quebec, the employees sensed something was off.
“The dog was barking, the dog was poking and he really wanted my attention,” employee and dog trainer Yves Jodoin told CBC. “I was giving the dog cookies, but the dog was still barking.”
The couple who had brought Vango in were also evading questions and did not seem to know about the dog’s most basic habits. They failed to tell Jodoin how old the dog was, what kind of food he ate, and how much they paid for him.
While Jodoin kept the couple busy, his co-worker ran internet searches for missing dogs—and found a hit. A picture of Vango had been posted, saying the dog had been reported missing from its home two and half hours earlier.
Ces deux personnes ont sauvé mon Vango ce midi. Lydia Blouin et Yves Jodoin de l’animalerie « Au Royaume des animaux »…
And then Jodoin recognized Vango from an obedience class he taught that the pup had taken at the store in the past.
“At that point I said, ‘Vango, come!’ And the dog was reacting, he was jumping,” Jodoin said. “All along he was barking and poking, trying to say, ‘Hello, I’m not the dog they say I am.'”
That’s when one of the alleged dognappers said they had found Vango in the woods. She said she had planned on keeping him because she couldn’t afford a trained dog to help her with her health issues.
Jodoin convinced the couple to leave Vango with him. Then, Jodoin called Vango’s owner, Josée Francoeur, and told her he had the dog in the store, safe and sound.
Earlier in the day, Francouer had put Vango in her fenced-in-backyard to pee only to have him disappear minutes later. Since he was not yet microchipped, she started posting on local social media pages immediately and then filed an official police report.
Francouer hopes her story will inspire people to get their pets microchipped. Vango already has an appointment for the simple procedure.
“I can’t talk about it without crying,” Francoeur said. “Imagine, if those people didn’t go to that pet store, I would have lost my dog forever.”