A local high school student has returned a stolen puppy to a Northwest Washington couple offering $10,000 for its return.
Maggie, a 4-month-old Boston terrier, was back home in Adams Morgan on Wednesday night after a high school senior contacted the couple, saying she had seen television reports about the missing dog.
The 18-year-old told Maggie’s owner, Mary Kathryn Steel, that she found Maggie still inside her travel carrier near the Petworth Metro station and took the puppy home. The teenager declined to be interviewed.
“We are so grateful . . . Maggie is home!!!” Steel said in an email, adding that she and her husband, Michael, gave the 18-year-old a check for the full reward. “She said that she would have a better prom with it!”
The Boston terrier disappeared Tuesday afternoon when it was taken from their burglarized vehicle.
The Steels were “wild with grief,” offered $10,000 for Maggie’s return and advertised the reward on fliers they had started to post across the District.
“We want to get our dog back, and we wanted it to be an amount that would get people’s attention and make it a substantial incentive,” said a melancholic Michael Steel, before the dog was returned.
Maggie — a pointy-eared, big-eyed pup with four white paws — came into the Steels’ life in February after they spotted her in a New Jersey pet store. “We went in, picked her up, looked at each other and said, ‘This is our dog,’ ” Steel said.
The then-newborn had already had her share of health issues. She suffered from giardia — or parasites — and “kennel cough,” which can lead to pneumonia. The puppy has improved under the couple’s care, gaining a few pounds, but she still requires treatment. Maggie had also become a local celebrity in their Northwest Washington community.
“She loves greeting people and never meets a stranger,” Mary Kathryn Steel said. “And she twerks when she wags her tail.”
Friends, relatives and neighbors watched the Steels embark on their “puppy journey” through their social-media posts and neighborhood walks.
Maggie had been sick in recent days, and Michael Steel wanted to lift her spirits by taking her with him on a car trip around the city. He parked at Ninth and K streets NW on Tuesday, walked Maggie and then put her inside her travel bag in the front seat about 1:20 p.m while he ran some errands.
He returned about 40 minutes later to find the front passenger-side window smashed and Maggie gone. Nothing else was taken from the car.
Police investigated, but the Steels also worked to recover their “dog baby.” They set up an email account for tips, printed 100 fliers Tuesday and made the reward higher than the possible resale value of the dog.
Boston terriers are a popular breed, and puppies can sell for up to $1,500 each.
Matt Williams of the Washington Humane Society said that dog thefts happen regularly but that the details of this case surprised the agency.
“You will see them stolen out of yards, but this smash-and-grab . . . this case is pretty blatant,” Williams said. “It’s the first time we’ve seen something like this.”
Corrections: An earlier version of this article said the dog was stolen Monday while the couple were running errands. She was taken on Tuesday, and it was only Michael Steel who had taken the dog out and was running errands.