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San Diego man’s search for beloved missing dog leads to double the happy ending

Posted at 8:04 AM, Mar 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-10 11:04:50-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- For dog owner Al Breland, the saga to find his beloved missing terrier led to twice the happy ending.

Al says about Dolly, “This is the most spoiled dog you will ever see.”

Spoiled, but now safe. Al says it all started last October, on a day when he and his wife Nancy had to leave the house.

“Dolly wanted to come along but we couldn't take her, so we got in the car and drove down. She managed to squeeze out from under the fence gate.”

Instead of Dolly, distress awaited Al when he got home. However, soon after, he got a call from a woman who had tracked Al down through Dolly's chip. Dolly was at the woman's home a few miles away.

“But then when we got over there the lady said Dolly had run out into the yard and then run away,” says Al, “We put up posters all over the area, searched for days.”

Resources including JL Animal Rescue in Rancho Santa Fe and the website PawBoost helped get the word out with missing posters. A few weeks later came what seemed like another lead.

“One of our friends had told us that there was a dog at the Carmel Valley Rec Center that looked like Dolly,” says Al.

But it wasn't Dolly. It was an energetic puppy with no chip and no tags that Al and Nancy ended up adopting and naming Pumpkin, because it was around Halloween. After that, months passed with no new leads on Dolly.

Al says at times, he felt like giving up, but then in January 2022, he says a woman in North Park called.

“When they called us and said there was a dog we think is Dolly, we didn't know for sure it was Dolly.”

To Al’s relief, it was.

Now that Al knows Dolly is an escape artist he says he has taken precautions.

“We've put up a board to try to close the area under the fence gate.”

Dolly is also now wearing a smart tag that tells Al through an app on his phone called Huan where she is.

When asked what makes Dolly so special to him, Al says, “She’s my heart,” and she has been for almost seven years.

Al, who is a retired neurologist and a veteran, says he's so happy to have his heart back.

“She imparts a sense of calmness. It's very, very hard to get upset or be upset when there's a dog licking your face,” he says as Dolly obliges.

It's not clear how Dolly ended up in North Park from the Carmel Valley area. The person who returned Dolly didn't return calls.

Al says despite some controversy about offering rewards, he did give one. He says what’s most important to him is that Dolly is back.