The beloved Cocker Spaniel who was swiped from outside a Boerum Hill deli last week was back with his family on Sunday after being stolen and sold on the street like hot watch.
“We had a very satisfying day,” said proud owner Jon Crawford-Phillips, who actually conducted a stakeout in Red Hook as the 12-day search for his best friend approached its dramatic climax.
“It was very therapeutic pulling down all the missing dog posters we had put up.”
The horror began on April 13 when Crawford-Phillips tied Thompy to a hook outside the State Street Gourmet Deli on Third Avenue.
He was inside the store for about 30 seconds, but when he returned, Thompy was gone.
Thompy — short for Thompson — could not have freed himself and run off, Crawford-Phillips said, so someone must have untied the leash.
Concerned neighbors — and we, too — publicized the dog-napping, and word spread quickly about Thompy’s disappearance.
“We got a number of calls about possible Thompy sightings, but they were very vague,” said Crawford-Phillips.
These calls brought both hope and despair to Crawford-Phillips and his wife — especially after rumors swirled that Thompy was the dead dog recovered from the lake at Prospect Park last Thursday morning.
But all speculation ended on Saturday evening when a Red Hook woman said she was sure she saw one of her neighbors walking Thompy.
The funny thing was that this neighbor never had a dog until just a few days earlier, the tipster said.
At 7 am on Sunday, Crawford-Phillips drove to where the caller had seen Thompy, and sat in his car, scanning the street.
Three-and-a-half hours later his heart almost leapt out of his chest; there was his beloved pooch padding down the street alongside his new “best friend.”
Crawford-Phillips contacted the police before approaching Thompy’s new charge, who said that he had bought the dog on the street 10 days earlier, but wouldn’t say where or for how much.
A quick visit to a nearby vet left nothing in doubt: Thompy’s chip identified Crawford-Phillips as the canine’s rightful owner.
Facing the truth, Thompy’s new “owners” had no choice but to bid their farewells to the brown and tan cocker.
“They looked after [Thompy] pretty well,” said Crawford-Phillips, who was ecstatic to have his dog back in his arms again.
The feeling, of course, was mutual.
“You could tell he was pleased to see me,” Crawford-Phillips explained, adding that after a victory lap around their courtyard on State Street and “a jump on the sofa,” Thompy was safe at home with his family as if he had never left.
“It had been 12 days, we were losing hope a bit,” said Crawford-Phillips, adding that he’s never going to leave Thompy alone on the street again.
“[My family and I] are going to be much more vigilant,” he said. “I already thought that we were being safe and careful, but we have to be more aware if there’s a guy out there trying to take dogs.”