On Aug. 28, Phillip Lewis of Cullman County lost his dog while being carjacked at gunpoint.
Lewis was at a Chevron gas station in Dodge City pumping fuel when a group of robbers forced him to hand over the key to his vehicle, according to Fox News Digital.
“She (the carjacker) said, ‘I’m not playing,’ and pointed the gun at my head,” he told the outlet. “And, at that point, I handed her the keys.”
As the robbers drove away in his vehicle, Lewis pleaded with the carjackers to allow his dog, a five-year-old Shih Tzu-poodle mix named Little Dude, to exit the car.
“So, I screamed, ‘Wait! Let me get my dog!’” he said. “But she took off. She had the jump on me, so I feel like there’s not much I could’ve done.”
Following the incident, Lewis took to Facebook to ask the public to be on the look out for Little Dude.
After making contact with animal rescue and charity groups Two by Two Rescue and Croonin’ for Critters, the organizations contributed to the $2,000 reward offered for help locating the dog.
Lewis received a tip Sept. 11 from an anonymous source, according to Fox News Digital. The tipster said that they had seen a neighbor return home with a dog that appeared to be Little Dude.
“I was 99% sure it was my dog,” said Lewis.
Upon contacting the authorities, the Cullman County and Jefferson County sheriff’s departments coordinated to find the pup. Lewis would soon be reunited with Little Dude.
“My initial thought was the robber probably liked him and wanted to keep him,” he said. “He is a super sweet dog.”
Lewis attributed the “power of social media” and the “extra eyes” on the case for allowing him to locate the dog.
“His little tail was just a-waggin’,” he said, saying Little Dude was “so excited” to be home. “He saw his other adopted brother — I have another dog named Jack Jack — and they played and played and played.”
Lewis told Fox News Digital he had rescued Little Dude as a puppy after he found the dog on his property.
“He was in a really bad way,” he said. “He was all matted up.”
After bringing the puppy back to health, Lewis said that the two have been “best friends ever since.”
“God sent him to me that day,” he said. “He stole my heart the day we met.”
According to Lewis, who has adult-onset asthma, Little Dude once saved his life during a health scare.
“There was one evening, before I was diagnosed, that I hyperventilated and passed out — and he licked me until I was able to wake up and call for help,” Lewis said.
A student of Wallace State Community College’s mechatronics program, Lewis said he intended to “keep on living life” with his “little adventure buddy.”
As of reporting time, the carjackers have yet to receive justice. His car, however, has been recovered.
When the perpetrators are caught, Lewis said that they will be looking at a “list of charges.”
It is Lewis’ hope that “the investigators can track down who did this and get them off the street before they do it again.”
Dylan Smith is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL