Veteran's dog reported missing in Lemon Grove returned to owners

Posted at 11:05 PM, May 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-16 15:12:01-04

LEMON GROVE, Calif. (KGTV) - A Chihuahua reported missing after running away from his caretaker at a Lemon Grove grocery store was reunited with his owners Wednesday.

Sweety belongs to a 74-year-old military veteran who recently had her leg amputated. Syvonne McNair has been taking care of the dog while his owner recovers from the operation.

"The dog is her heart, he is her only person who can encourage her recovery," McNair said.

McNair said Sweety got out of the car to use the relieve himself when they stopped at the Food4Less store on Broadway Tuesday. Afterward, McNair said the dog darted into the store.

McNair went inside looking for Sweety but couldn’t find him.

Surveillance video shows a woman picking up Sweety and walking away from the store.

Sheriff’s deputies were initially investigating the incident as a stolen dog case, but it turns out the woman in the video was merely taking care of a scared dog.

Jaime Smith told 10News she spotted Sweety at the store and picked him up to protect him.

“He was in a grocery store … grocery stores aren’t going to let a dog hang around. I was just trying to get him out of a bad situation; he’d already been through traffic, he was already really scared. [My thing was] let’s get him to where he feels the safest and then try and figure it out from there because somebody’s obviously looking for him,” Smith told 10News.

Smith told 10News she asked people in and around the store if anyone was looking for the dog, and she said she had to take Sweety home because she felt that turning him over to the store would result in the dog being taken to a shelter.

Smith said she and her friends tried to spread the word via social media, posting pictures of Sweety in hopes of finding his owner.

Through the power of social media, 10News helped get Smith, McNair and Sweety together on Wednesday morning for a happy reunion.

McNair told 10News she made good on the $200 reward promised when Sweety was first reported missing.