The Capitol Hill area of Washington D.C. is very much a walking community. It is not uncommon for residents to run errands on foot with their furry friends in tow. Such was the case for Caroline Boyce, her boyfriend, and their dog Charlie (short for Charlotte) this past weekend.
Boyce tied the 7-year-old rescue pup outside a Giant Food supermarket as the couple popped inside for groceries. When they returned, Charlie was gone.
The Search Begins
They contacted the police and set about distributing flyers right away. By the next day, several tips had come in that Charlie may be in the possession of a woman in a nearby apartment building. Boyce shared the info with the police, who knocked on the woman’s door but received no answer.
Luckily, the dog lovers of Capitol Hill were still on the case. Boyce began to receive calls from people at the apartment building around 10:00 that evening reporting that the suspect had returned home.
“They reached out saying, ‘You need to get here right now. This woman’s here.'”
Taking Matters Into Their Own Hands
Boyce and her boyfriend immediately headed over to the property, where another resident guided them to the suspect’s door. The pair was determined to get Charlie back despite the potential threat to their safety.
“I knew that it was a risk,” Boyce said. “We were just begging, ‘Please, please, please let us have our dog back. We can see her. We can see you,” Boyce said.
The woman’s shadow was visible beneath the apartment door. Even more frustrating, so were Charlie’s paws. Despite an hour of pounding and pleading, the suspect did not respond.
A Joyful Reunion
Boyce and her boyfriend still refused to give up. After just two hours of sleep, they returned at 6 AM the following morning, ready to confront the suspect when she emerged from the apartment with Charlie.
They waited in the lobby for more than two hours before their persistence paid off. When the woman finally emerged with Charlie, the delighted pup ran straight into the couple’s arms.
“She, you know, kind of gave a laugh at us, turned around and went right back upstairs,” Boyce said.
Boyce has not decided whether or not to press charges against the thief, but police say they are reviewing video footage from outside the grocery store to see if they can build a case.
While she fears running into this woman again, Boyce says her most overwhelming emotion is gratitude for all the friends and strangers who helped bring Charlie home. And, of course, she is grateful for more time with her dog.
“Getting that 30-minute walk in the morning with Charlie sometimes gets pushed to the backburner. And, I think this experience… I’m really excited to get out there and, you know, take my dog for a nice long walk and enjoy the beautiful city that we live in,” Boyce said.
An Ongoing Problem
Several dognappings have plagued the area in recent months, including a Golden Retriever stolen outside a CVS just days before Charlie was taken and the armed theft of two dogs in Northwest D. C. in April.
The Golden Retriever was found safely, as was one of the dogs taken at gunpoint. However, the other pup, a French Bulldog named Bruno, is still missing.