A woman whose pleas for help went viral after her pooch was dognapped outside the Red Hook Ikea has been reunited with her beloved hound.
Park Slope resident Wenfei Tong managed to contact the woman who walked off with her furball with the help of dog lovers across the city, who filled social media with pictures of her wayward pooch, and the pair arranged to meet in Prospect Park on Monday, where the other woman handed over the dog happy and healthy.
“It was this amazing explosion of different people who really showed a lot of support,” said Tong. “It practically went viral.”
Tong, who moved to Brooklyn three months ago from her home in Anchorage, Alaska, had left her shepherd and cattle dog mix Ana tied up outside the Beaver Street furniture store on Feb. 1, only to return a short time later to discover her dog was missing — a shocker that she admits shouldn’t have come as a big surprise.
“It was naive and stupid, and I’m kicking myself,” said Tong.
The newly settled Park Sloper found a security guard and another Ikea employee, who explained they were approached by a woman and her family concerned about the unattended dog. The guard had tried calling the phone number found on Ana’s dog tags, but misdialed it, and when the owner didn’t immediately answer, the misguided do-gooder simply walked off with the friendly pooch.
“I think she basically assumed that I didn’t deserve my dog and that she was doing everyone a favor by taking her,” Tong said.
The forlorn dog owner filed a police report, and then turned to social media, where she was met with a flood of support — and condemnation — and her plight sparked on online debate even as locals tried to track down her pooch.
“People were getting into little arguments with each other about whether or not I deserved this,” said Tong. ”Some people were saying ‘it serves her right,’ and others were saying ‘don’t say that!’ I’ve also gotten a ton of criticism and judgement, which is fine.”
It turned out that Tong’s dognapper shared her information with another woman at Ikea before taking the Ana, and the other lady spotted one of the online posts advertising the canine’s disappearance. She soon contacted Tong, and within hours the Park Slope resident found herself reunited with her beloved pooch, saying there’s no hard feelings.
“I was being so roasted by other people on Facebook, but i understand she was scared too,” said Tong. “I do think her intentions were genuinely good.”