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Reformed Gang Member Shows Compassion For The Addict Who Stole His Dog

Written by: Molly Weinfurter
Molly Weinfurter is a writer for iHeartDogs, and she’s passionate about helping animals in need. She volunteers for Bailing Out Benji and a local dog rescue.Read more
| Published on July 12, 2021

Brayden Morton was working from home in British Columbia when someone stole his dog from his yard. Darla the 3-year-old Shar-Pei was outside when he heard a commotion outside his window. When he rushed to look in the yard, Darla was gone, the gate was open, and a truck was speeding away.

Morton immediately turned to social media to search for his stolen dog. He offered a $5,000 reward, and he received hundreds of potential sightings. Yet, once he found the person responsible, he didn’t have an angry bone in his body. He sympathized with the suspect and went on to make a difference in her life.

Missing Shar Pei
Image: Brayden Morton Facebook

Searching for Darla

Right away, a news release about Darla came out, and many people promised to look out for her. A friend even doubled Morton’s original $2,500 reward. Yet, Morton knew he had to do more. So, as soon as someone contacted him saying they found the car that drove off with Darla, Morton rushed to the scene.

Morton approached the older blue truck and found a man inside with two dogs. He accused the man of stealing Darla, but the stranger insisted he wasn’t involved. So, Morton headed home, still feeling heartbroken. At one point, Morton even thought Darla was dead, but then a miracle happened.

“Tonight was one of the worst best nights I’ve ever had. At about 6 pm I was told that they thought they had found Darla but she wasn’t alive and my heart dropped like nothing I’ve ever imagined,” Morton wrote on Facebook. “As I’m sitting in my vehicle waiting to find out I get a phone call from a blocked number. I answered and all I heard was what sounded to be like a young lady crying. I knew in my heart that this person had my dog or knew where she was.”

Darla Shar Pei and Louis
Image: Brayden Morton Facebook

The woman admitted that she helped steal Darla, but she felt incredibly guilty about it. So, Morton grabbed the reward money and rushed to the woman’s location.

A Culprit with a Kind Heart

Morton met the 20-year-old woman at the location she mentioned. Sure enough, Darla was with her. Morton became overjoyed to see his furry friend again, but then, he focused on the woman. She explained what happened and who helped her. Right away, he knew she was addicted to drugs. So, he wanted to help her in any way possible.

“I walked up to her and gave her a hug and told her it was alright and I wasn’t mad because I understand what she’s going through all too well. I am a recovering fentanyl addict who has been in recovery for just over six years and I am a Drug and Alcohol Interventionist now,” wrote Morton. “I was living the exact same way as she was six short years ago. I told her about my past and how messed up I was. We talked for about 20 mins.”

Then, Morton explained that he didn’t want to give her the money because he worried he’d find her dead shortly after. She agreed, admitting that she needed help, but was too scared to get it. So, instead of giving her the cash, Morton offered to pay for the woman’s treatment. After some consideration, she accepted.

Shar Pei cuddling
Image: Brayden Morton Facebook

Morton knows how hard going through treatment can be, so he will do what he can to help this stranger. He was in and out of treatment 16 times, and he didn’t make a change until he went through a near-death experience. Thus, he sympathized with the woman even though she stole Darla. She had been planning to sell Darla for drug money, but as a fellow dog lover, she couldn’t do it. She wanted to make a change.

Making the World a Better Place

After making arrangements for the woman to go to a 90-day treatment program, Morton wanted to continue making a difference. He returned to the man in the blue truck, who he had accused of stealing Darla. He apologized for the way he’d acted, and he found out that the man and his dogs recently became homeless.

So, Morton continued his acts of kindness by buying a hotel room for the man for a week. Some of Morton’s friends also offered to help him pay for an additional week. They also helped the man find a job so he can get back on his feet.

Man giving act of kindness
Image: Brayden Morton Facebook

“Having Darla taken felt like my whole world was crashing down on me. Tonight was a night I will never forget and I am truly humbled,” Morton wrote. “Hopefully it sends the message as people we need to be there for each other and our experience sometimes isn’t for us it’s for someone else, and don’t always write someone off. There are a lot of good people who are addicted to drugs, sometimes they just need someone to talk to and go to for help.”

Everyone makes mistakes, so Morton reminds everyone that it’s important to help others when they need it. Sometimes, there’s more to a story than we realize. Morton is grateful to have Darla back, so he wants to share that gratitude by doing good deeds for others. It’s something we should all do more often.

Featured Image: Brayden Morton Facebook

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