Community Chips in to Rescue Stolen Dog

When Marissa Mabanag asked her mom for a puppy, her mother, Marie, told the 10-year-old she could get a dog only if she earned it by placing on the honor roll that year. Marissa worked hard throughout the school year, diligently completing homework assignments, putting in long studying hours for tests, and making her parents proud.

In June, Marissa’s mom rewarded her with a Shih Tzu-Yorkie mixup pup. Thrilled, Marissa named the dog Meeko after the expressive raccoon character in Disney’s Pocahontas. Marissa taught the little dog to sit and roll over.

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Last Monday, however, the Mabanag house was burglarized for the second time in a year, despite recent home security improvements. The burglars entered through a shattered sliding glass door, and in addition to taking thousands of dollars in electronics, swiped Marissa’s beloved Meeko.

Heartbroken, the little girl offered up her piggy bank in exchange for the dog’s return. When City Council members heard of the dog’s disappearance in a second home invasion, they added $1,000 to the reward, and police and fire unions chipped in another $5,000.

The heightened stakes worked — the dog was discovered by an unnamed individual this Thursday in a shopping center in Los Banos, almost 80 miles from home.

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Marissa’s mom described the ordeal as a “roller coaster” for her daughter, saying that Marissa will “try to be really brave about it, but if you sit down and talk to her about it, she breaks down.”

The burglary is just one of a rash of break-ins recently plaguing the family’s neighborhood, the result of a budget-crunched police force that simply does not have the manpower to patrol the streets. When the Mabanags discovered their home had been violated again, that was one thing — but when they realized Meeko was gone, it was simply devastating.

Material things can always be replaced, but the traumatic disappearance of a beloved companion animal leaves an aching hole in your heart. Fortunately for Marissa, she will be reunited with Meeko all thanks to a community effort. It’s a lesson in optimism even in the face of devastating adversity.

As Marissa’s mom said, “As much as there are bad people out there, there are also so many good people and this is a perfect example of it. I always tell her that good things happen to good people.”

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This post was written by Liz Acosta, Assistant Editor at Dogster Magazine.

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Oleg Kobetz
Oleg Kobetz2 years ago

Thank you for the article.

Margaret B.
Margaret B.2 years ago

Interesting how the little dog was 'found' when the ante was upped!
Glad it was returned safely though.

Dorothy Black
Dorothy Black3 years ago

People who steal pets should face harsh consequences. Like the filth that steal small dogs to use in dog fights as bait. I have seen a number of lost dog flyers in my area and it worries me. Wish there was something that could be done.

It is great that Meeko was reunited with her family.

Katherine Wright
Katherine Wright3 years ago happy that she got her beloved doggie back! Kudos to everyone who stepped up to help. This is a great example of what can be accomplished when people work together for a greater cause.

If I am ever in a position to help reunite a lost pet with their person I would consider either donating the reward to a local no-kill shelter or rescue or ask the pet owner to do so. But I agree with Darla, the true reward would be in seeing that person's face when they are reunited!

Duane B.
.3 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Carrie Anne Brown

glad she got her dog back :) thanks for sharing

Florence Eaise
florene Eaise3 years ago

so glad she got her pet back or i should say bought her pet back poor kid im sure the "rescuer" was the one who stole the dog lol im with Gloria i would just give the dog back no reward needed

paul m.
paul m.3 years ago

Sorry forgot,,,, Dirty Bastards who rob pets and break into people's homes ....!!

paul m.
paul m.3 years ago

Dirty Bastards who rob pets...

Laurie Greenberg
Laurie Greenberg3 years ago

Great story!