Although it was a little late, Christmas finally came for one family. All they had to do was travel 2,000 miles to get their intended gift — a rare English bulldog puppy.
The dog was going to be a Christmas surprise for a suburban Chicago family in Naperville, Illinois, WWL reported.
But on Dec. 18, a real-life Grinch stole the 10-week-old puppy — a blue merle English bulldog which is rare because of its coloring, according to WLS.
The bulldog was stolen from a Petland store in Naperville, just hours before the family was going to take it home “as a Christmas surprise,” per the Chicago Tribune. A woman took the dog before getting into a car with another person, according to the newspaper.
Believed to be part of a larger criminal operation, the puppy was found thanks to police in Illinois and California, where the dog was located, WMAQ reported.
Naperville police identified and tracked a suspect’s social media accounts to locate the bulldog in Los Angeles, per WWL.
With help from the Los Angeles Police Department, the suspect was arrested and the unharmed puppy was recovered, according to WMAQ.
Tweets from the LAPD show officers quickly grew attached to the English bulldog.
They even had some fun on social media, tweeting the puppy would rather “enjoy some sunny SoCal weather for a couple extra days,” before returning home where it’s “cold/snowy.”
The Twitter post also included pictures of the officers with the bulldog, one of the puppy in uniform and another with it fascinated by a computer screen at a police station.
While officers embraced having the English bulldog, another group couldn’t wait to take it home.
Two months and 2,000 miles later, the growing puppy finally met its family Sunday. Calling it “bittersweet,” the LAPD tweeted the family came all the way from Illinois to get the bulldog.
“Now if I can only get a first-class puppy seat on the flight back home — I mean, come on, I did have to deal with being stolen and taken thousands of miles away,” the LAPD wrote in the tweet.
The LAPD did get a shout out from their colleagues in Naperville, who used Twitter to share their thanks for the safe recovery of “one of our own (canine) citizens.”