A Riverside man desperate to find his purebred Havanese pup said Monday that the disappearance of his dog and subsequent reappearance on an adoption site run more than 40 miles away made him concerned, but was just happy to be reunited with his beloved Jack.
Surveillance video captured the moments when Lou Gotowski's pedigreed pup - fitted with two microchips - ran out of his motorcycle shop on April 21.
Gotowski said he saw a woman pick up Jack and carry him into a neighboring business, but then they both disappeared.
Local news from across Southern California
His launched an all-out search, putting up a huge sign with a reward, and creating a Facebook page to get the word out. He enlisted his friends to scour the internet, and suddenly - there he was.
But he was listed as a dog named Scotty, up for adoption on a website.
Gotowski said the minute he tried to claim the dog, his ad disappeared from the website. He also tried to catch up with the rescue group during an adoption event at a Petco, but Jack wasn't there.
Gotowski said two women from a Newport Beach nonprofit called Pet Match Rescue agreed to bring the pooch in the ad to him if he agreed to pay $525 — money they had spent neutering the pup. Gotowski agreed.
The dog was brought to the Newport Beach Police Department.
"Please let it be Jack. I want to bring him home so bad," he said in anticipation of the reunion.
Animal control officers scanned the dog's microchip, and it was indeed Jack.
An officer brought the fuzzy 6-month-old pup out, and Jack began squirming in excitement at the sight of Gotowski.
Jack kissed his owner and wriggled in joy, clearly happy to see a familiar face.
Gotowski wondered why the microchip wasn't scanned earlier - it could have saved weeks of heartache.
"It's me going through an emotional deal getting my dog back," Gotowski said as he got choked up with Jack now back in his arms.
Gotowski also wonders how Jack managed to get all the way to Orange County from his home in Riverside.
The women from the nonprofit told NBC4 there was no dispute, but would not say how Jack came to them.
"I got Jack back, and forever am I grateful but my big deal is how many other people have lost their dog in this type of situation? That's the scary part," Gotowski said.
Jack was well cared for, and received shots. His owner is not happy about Jack being neutered as he is a pedigreed pooch.