Oh, you lucky dog!
A French bulldog that was stolen from a Long Island home on Thanksgiving has a new leash on life after she was found some 50 miles away.
Matthew Hauck, 34, thanked The Post for coverage that led to his joyous reunion with Stella Saturday afternoon in Center Moriches, an hour away from his Huntington home where the 4-year-old pup was snatched.
“I believe that this outcome would have been much more devastating if The New York Post did not demonstrate such kindness and at least help us get the word out, because I believe the word got out so fast that the people decided they were just going to release Stella,” Hauck said.
Hauck said he and his wife, Jennifer, 35, realized that Stella had been dognapped when they returned home from Thanksgiving dinner around 11 p.m. A Sony PlayStation 5 had also been swiped from their house, Hauck and police said.
The couple began frantically searching for Stella and quickly got the word out to police and the press. A possible sighting that evening at a 7-Eleven in Brentwood turned up nothing, but when two separate tipsters in Center Moriches said they spotted a French bulldog running around their town, Hauck grew hopeful.
Stella had not been wearing her identifying harness because she was sleeping in her home, but after FaceTiming with Stella and her rescuer, Hauck and his wife drove east for a tearful reunion that was caught on camera.
“When we got out there, it became evident very quickly that this was our dog and it was just such a happy reunion to meet such great people. Even the police that worked with us, everyone was hugging,” he said.
Hauck was also grateful for community members who offered up thousands of dollars in reward money and emotional support.
“I hear these stories of these people that were so kind-hearted and in a devastating moment it’s so overwhelming to think that so many people care and it was kind of refreshing to see,” he said.
One family from Queens even spent the day driving around looking for the dog after seeing news coverage of the canine caper.
“I credit you guys as superheroes because a dog story doesn’t always become top news and you guys were able to spread it so quickly and so far,” the proud pup owner gushed to The Post over the phone.
Hauck said he believes the dognapping and burglary was an opportunistic crime committed by thieves looking for empty houses to target during the holiday.
No arrests had been made.
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