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Hunter and Laura say 'thanks'
Thank you, thank you, thank you. I can’t thank you enough for your support, thoughtfulness, kindness and generosity.
The theft of my dog Hunter’s stroller one week before Christmas was a huge shock. Hunter riding in his red buggy is a common sight in our neighbourhood as I make the rounds on my dog walking service. The stroller enables him to join many of the outings throughout the day. He walks with his buddies for a block or two, then, when his arthritis makes walking too painful, he climbs into his buggy and rolls along with the pack.
When I discovered Hunter’s stroller was stolen, I was angry and hurt that someone could be so callous to take a device that was obviously used to aid a handicapped pet. Where was the goodwill, the essence of the Christmas spirit?
I sent emails to clients, neighbours and friends asking them to keep a look out for it. I also posted a few flyers in the condominium buildings located around Gates Park. The response was overwhelming. I immediately started receiving emails, phone calls and texts from people who were outraged over the theft. People were driving and walking through the neighbourhood actively looking for Hunter’s buggy.
A good friend suggested I report the theft to the Coquitlam RCMP. Their crime analyst sent a fan-out to every member of the detachment and made sure they had photos of the buggy. Cpl. Jamie Chung posted a story and photo to their website and put me in touch with a reporter from The Tri-City News. Within days I saw articles of the theft reported in various media.
A few days after the theft, a neighbour generously offered the use of his child’s brand new bike/trailer stroller “for as long as needed.” The moment Hunter saw the stroller he walked over, sniffed it and then looked at me as if to say “What are you waiting for? Let’s roll.”
Friends and strangers contacted me offering to purchase a new stroller for Hunter or to offer donations towards a new one. While walking dogs throughout PoCo, people were constantly coming up to me and expressing their indignation over the theft of Hunter’s stroller.
On Dec. 23, there was a knock on my front door. Const. Graham was standing there with a big grin on his face. He had spotted a man towing a trailer on his bike and tried to stop him to talk. After a brief chase down the railway tracks the man got away but the constable was able to recover the trailer, which turned out to be Hunter’s chariot.
The front carriage and tire of the stroller were missing, it had been spray-painted gold and it definitely wasn’t like it was but I thought I might be able to purchase some parts and clean it up so it would be usable again.
The next day, I was walking to Gates Park to meet a friend when I noticed a group of people. As I drew closer, I recognized many of my neighbours, clients and friends, and, although slightly confused by the sight of them gathered in the middle of the afternoon, I thought how nice it would be to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. And then I saw my dog walking friend approaching from the opposite direction pushing a stroller with a helium balloon attached to it. I was gobsmacked, completely taken by surprise.
It is impossible to describe the overwhelming range of emotions I experienced when I was presented a brand new stroller for Hunter. I was overcome with feelings of wonder, amazement and gratitude.
The theft of Hunter’s stroller was upsetting but the response to this theft from people within PoCo and beyond was unbelievably and remarkably awesome.
I live in a community filled with wonderful people and this is a precious gift for which I am very grateful.
Laura Smith and Hunter