Two dogs were found safe and reunited with their owners after a wild ride in a stolen doggy day care van Tuesday in Wrentham, Massachusetts, Tuesday, but the person who stole the van remains at large.
The Tail Blazers University van had been stolen from town around 4 p.m. while two dogs were inside, Wrentham Police Chief Bill McGrath said. The business offers dog day care and training services.
"Just having here here, it was a humungous, humungous relief," said Linda Fernando, the owner of one of the dogs. "Just getting that phone call, too, knowing they found the van and the dogs were in there and the dogs were safe."
The stolen van was located in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. McGrath said in a tweet around 9 p.m. that the dogs were safe.
The owner of Tail Blazers University, Joshua Nichols, said he was thankful the dogs were found safe as police investigate what happened.
"You have no idea how relieved we are we all," Nichols said. "Nothing else mattered -- just trying to find those dogs. These are clients dogs. Those were tough phone calls to make out of the gate… it’s just great news we got the dogs back."
The owners of the two dogs in the van, named Frida and Tessy, where thrilled to have their pets back after a few harrowing hours.
"It's incredible. It's such a relief," said Benjamin Gary, Frida's owner.
Fernando, Tessy's mom, said she was concerned the thief would sell the dogs or let them escape, but Gary said he tried to focus on the positive: "We felt pretty confident just because the bizarreness of the situation and, how was somebody going to try to get away in a bus with pictures of dogs on it? That's quite a unique scenario."
Nichols said he stopped at the hardware store Tuesday afternoon and came out to find the van and two dogs gone, setting off a police search. The van and the dogs were found about five hours later.
Although police said they have a person of interest, they have not released information on any arrests.
“We do have a person of interest. She was in court and looking for a ride home," McGrath said.