It was an unexpected phone call for Aranza Delgado — an Albuquerque woman or "Burqueña," more than 800 miles away from Corpus Christi, who had given up long ago on the search for their family dog.
“Wait, you’re not in Albuquerque, are you?” Delgado said to Peewee’s Pet Adoption World & Sanctuary, recalling her conversation. “And they’re like, ‘You’re not in Texas? … We’re in Corpus Christi and your dog is here.’
Although it was confusing at first, their 10-year-old poodle “Puppies” (pronounced “poopies” — a callback to Jack Black’s 2006 film, Nacho Libre) was in fact picked up at the corner of Greenwood Drive and Baldwin Boulevard by a passerby on Monday. Since he was chipped, the shelter was able to contact Delgado.
“She was pleasantly surprised,” said Peewee’s Pet Adoption World & Sanctuary volunteer Ernie Cochran. “If I can get a dog back to his family, it’s a wonderful thing.”
Although there was some miscommunication at first that the Delgado had a limited window of time and had to pick up Puppies by Tuesday — Cochran said she and the rest of the shelter are than willing to provide their dog with several weeks so that he may be picked up.
Since then, Corpus Christi locals have teamed up with a plan to get Puppies back home to the Land of Enchantment as early as Sunday.
“Everybody has been amazing,” Delgado said. “From Pee-wee‘s To the people that are helping me transport.
“I didn’t realize how friendly everybody in Texas was and how much they’ve been helpful — I’ve had a lot of messages, as a matter fact, the lady that I’ve been in contact with — she’s picking him up tomorrow when he’s ready to go and she’s going to keep him overnight and then eventually put him on the transport to get him back home.
On Thursday, Peewee’s was able to have the poodle vetted, his teeth cleaned and later checked for heartworms — a disease common to many South Texas dogs.
Despite Puppies being diagnosed with heartworms, Delgado said she’s just happy to be reunited with their old friend.
“We will get him treated here and so he will be OK,” she said. “He has a family that’s waiting for him and a new human to meet, so he will hopefully enjoy the baby.”
And for those who consider stealing animals, she asks others to think twice — and remember who it affects.
“I just want people to remember that ‘finders-keepers’ does not apply to your dogs. Return them. They are a part of our family,” Delgado said. “You don’t keep other people’s dogs — you send them back, get them scanned, and if you want to keep them, then maybe get on a waitlist — there’s thousands of dogs needing to be adopted.”
Although she’ll never completely know what Puppies went through in the past four years, Delagado hopes that her story highlights the kindness of Texans.
“You lose faith in humanity by someone stealing your dog — but then it’s like restored when all these people are so willing to help bring him back to the right place and that’s just amazing,” Delgado said.
Peewee’s Pet Adoption World & Sanctuary is a 501.c3 nonprofit no-kill animal shelter, if you are interested in supporting their efforts, you can donate to them via their website.