Update: Payton the stolen schnoodle is back home

This already has been pointed out on the comment thread following the Sunday story, but here’s the official announcement early this morning from the family of Payton, the West Seattle schnoodle stolen during a visit to Capitol Hill (original report here) – he’s back home safe:

I don’t even know how to describe what happened in the last 28 hours or so but my wife and I are in total disbelief. We just got our beloved Payton back. Apparently sometime around 9am this morning the thieves dropped him on a busy 4 lane road in Federal Way. 2 ladies on their way to church saw him and picked him up. They posted some ads around Federal Way but saw the clip on KOMO and called it in.

We learned a lot over the last day plus. One, as many people have suggested – don’t leave your dog in your car unattended. It’s simply not safe or worth the risk. We also learned how powerful a group of united friends and can be when called upon. We’re forever grateful to everyone who worked very hard today to help us get the word out. Within moments of getting home last night, our friends and family went to work and gave us the support we needed. Also, if it wasn’t for the West Seattle Blog I’m not sure we would have him back right now. Many thanks to you and your readers for your comments which ultimately led to KOMO reaching out to us about the story.

Lastly, the owner’s of Piecora’s were so helpful and caring and deserve a lot business their way. The owner came in (Sunday) just to get me the footage that SPD decided to ignore (as it was just a theft of “personal property”) so we could get it on air and out to people.

Thanks a million to everyone who showed their support.


29 Replies to "Update: Payton the stolen schnoodle is back home"

  • lina March 30, 2009 (9:22 am)

    Yay! that is so awesome! I am glad he is home safe!

  • Lindsey March 30, 2009 (9:22 am)

    Yeah! I love happy endings, especially on Monday mornings.

  • Jamie March 30, 2009 (9:26 am)

    Fantastic news! As a dog owner, this story got to me, and I’m happy to hear that he is home safe.

  • iggy March 30, 2009 (9:28 am)

    What great news and a fabulous way to start the week.

  • Minette March 30, 2009 (9:32 am)

    I’m so happy to hear this, Dan. I was so sad to hear about Payton and concerned for his well-being. My husband and I were snuggling our little dog last night and talking about how overwhelmingly sad we would be if we were in your shoes.

    I know a lot of people have been harshing on you two for leaving he dog in the car, but I would have done the exact same thing. It seems very normal to me to leave the dog in the car for short periods of time in comfortable weather like we’ve been having, so I can easily see this same type of thing happening to me. Thank you for sharing your story and being vulnerable to all this social nastiness. You’ve helped me learn a proactive lesson and I’m grateful to you.

  • andrea March 30, 2009 (9:54 am)

    that is the best news I’ve heard in awhile! congrats Dan and family on getting your baby back!! amazing! and yes, big kuddo’s to Piecora’s for all their help.

  • patricia March 30, 2009 (9:55 am)

    I’m so happy for Payton and his family! It is awful to hear about the dognappings that occur but a relief for a happy and quick ending.

  • cjp March 30, 2009 (10:16 am)

    Glad to hear the pooch is back Don!

    Minnete- thanks for articulating that you’ve learned a lesson vicariously as well. I never meant to start ‘harshing’ on Don in my original comment, only to point out that the circumstances had factors that could have been avoided. In the comments to the original thread someone was crticizing anyone commenting on the fact that Payton was left alone in the car in the first place, and saying that Don et al only needed support, not to be made to feel worse, and how did it help to ‘blame’ him.

    Well, here is an example of why it helps to talk rationally and honestly about all factors in the situation. More people may think twice before leaving valuable things in their cars, much less a living creature… thats a good thing, and a result of honest, open, adult conversation, and constructive polite criticism.

    Also big props to Don for his response in the original comments thread, for stepping up and admitting that he’d learned a lesson, rather than going automatically on the defensive. That’s tough to do, even more so when you’re emotionally invested. You have my respect for that.

    Now, on to happier times. Enjoy springtime with your dog. :)

  • 56bricks March 30, 2009 (10:49 am)

    WooHoooo! bark bark.

  • Save Our Streets Seattle March 30, 2009 (10:54 am)

    Hooooray!! Great news for Payton and his people! Sounds like a scary 28 hours for Payton, but he’s home where he belongs. Props to Piecora’s who I’ve never seen go less that 110% on pizza or people. And, boooo SPD! A dog is MORE than “personal property.” Yay for Payton the doggie survivor!

  • lashanna March 30, 2009 (10:56 am)

    awesome…. so happy for you!!

  • GenHillOne March 30, 2009 (10:56 am)

    Very, very good news. Regardless of where one falls on the dog-in-the-car debate, Dan brings up a really good point. The law, and law enforcement, sees a pet as “personal property” and any theft (from a car, yard, home) will be treated as such, with few resources to look for your stolen property. If you wouldn’t leave your laptop in the car, maybe you don’t want to leave your family member there. This is NOT a judgement on Dan. The opposite really, because I don’t know that this particular what-if would have crossed my mind otherwise. Thank you for the new perspective. And hooray for Payton and the good folks that found him!

  • TeresaP March 30, 2009 (11:19 am)

    Just remember this tip for all us dog owners.

    If the temperature outside is above 55-60 and the sun is out, the temperature inside a car can quickly reach over 80 degrees in a short amount of time. Spring and summer is NOT the time to leave your dogs in the car.

    YAY FOR PAYTON and his humans!!!!!!

  • Diane March 30, 2009 (11:48 am)

    ch 4 just ran a story update on this; though no interview of owners, or dog; showed doggy bowls, funny

  • Krystal March 30, 2009 (12:47 pm)

    I love this story Dan. Congrats! I take my dog in the car with me on errands maybe once a week, and I will be not doing this anymore. I think a lot of us have learned from this and events in the previous years, and that people do target dogs, not just electronics. I would never leave my purse in the car, but for some reason, my dog in the car (when temperature is appropriate) never crossed my mind, especially since he loves car rides so much.
    So sorry to hear the SPD doesn’t take the time with cases such as these. Although I think crime, violence safety of our citizens is a first priority, and situations like these have to take a back seat to bigger crimes, the SPD, IMO, has given the green light to such crimes. No wonder there has been such a rash of car burglaries in WS and apparently other areas, the SPD has given the perps the message that these crimes are somewhat easy to get away with. Very frustrating!

  • Steve Scheffler March 30, 2009 (1:06 pm)

    I’m glad you found your puppy!

    But now since Payton has been found~

    cjp- Maybe Dan’s reasons for quickly accepting blame was to be productive and redirect his post to finding his dog and not to simply address your “honest, open, adult conversation, and constructive polite criticism” which may have been such, but maybe you need to work on your timing…

    Komo News did a nice and productive Problem Solvers story instead of having Ken Schram lecture the family.

    Which one do you think was more helpful?

  • WSB March 30, 2009 (1:08 pm)

    I do want to say one thing about the SPD angle.
    One thing you can do if you don’t believe crimes are being prioritized properly is talk to the people who hold the purse strings – the mayor, city council and even the Legislature.
    Police point out that they do not have limitless staffing and they have to prioritize crimes that are threats to life and safety.
    I don’t know ANYTHING about the specifics of this situation, what in particular happened when Dan and his wife called the police, what else was going on in Capitol Hill that night, and what police did after the report was filed. So I cannot say the response was right, wrong, too little, whatever. And I am NOT intending to belittle the concerns and complaints of those who don’t think police have the right priorities.
    But in the interest of seeing everything from both sides – and I spend a little more time with police than most, because I’m usually down at the precinct at least once a week looking at reports, as well as talking with either precinct leaders or the media unit, and attending meetings where police brief attendees — I do want to make that point.
    And if you directly interact with a police officer and feel like you’ve been blown off, dissed, whatever, REPORT IT. Precinct leaders like SW Precinct’s Lt. Steve Paulsen have said this publicly time and time again. Difficult as it is, they need and want to hear if their guys and gals are not providing good “customer service.”
    Here is an online form that can be used for commendations as well as complaints, for starters.
    If you are dealing with police in West Seattle, you can also call the Southwest Precinct directly and ask to speak to management. Precinct contact info is here:

  • alki_2008 March 30, 2009 (1:26 pm)

    Glad to hear Payton is home again.
    Curious, does anyone know of a source that tracks dognappings…particularly, what breeds/ages are stolen? The other threads noting that Hondas are such common targets of vehicle theft got me wondering if there’s a similar stat for dog theft…ie, I wonder if purebreds (hypoallergenic cross-breeds, shiba inus, etc) are more often stolen than mutts?

  • John March 30, 2009 (1:28 pm)

    With the way things are going economically for our state and local governments, and considering the kinds of challenges the police department has to meet daily, can anybody – even the most ardent dog-lovers – really say that you would have police manpower being directed toward a stolen dog? In an ideal world maybe. Not in this one, though.

  • TH March 30, 2009 (1:40 pm)

    It is wonderful that Payton is back home safe and sound. I used to tie my dog outside a store if I had to run in and get something. It saddens me that I can no longer do that. No, I do not bring her into the store. I don’t approve of that but it is tempting.

  • WTF March 30, 2009 (2:19 pm)

    That’s AWESOME news!!!!!!!!

  • Dan March 30, 2009 (3:05 pm)

    My wife and I just wanted to again express our appreciation to everyone that has been so very supportive through all of this. We in all seriousness will not be leaving our dogs in the car anymore while we do even simple errands. It’s not worth the risk.

    Regarding the police, I certainly can understand priorities. It’s never easy to hear “we just don’t have the resources” especially when it involves something you love so much. Our chief complaint was that the officer left the scene while I was getting sick in the bathroom from anxiety, didn’t collect any evidence for the detectives (again, maybe something more urgent came up) but when I gathered the evidence for them and brought it to the precinct they wouldn’t look at the footage. When I told them I could probably get them the license plate number from the video they still said they probably wouldn’t do anything with that information. That’s when we realized we really had to turn to our community for help.

  • RS March 30, 2009 (3:29 pm)

    I’m glad you got your dog back, Dan! And that is really kind of upsetting about the police response. I totally agree that they have to prioritize and have limited resources, but it is discouraging to hear that they completely ignored the evidence Dan had collected! It’s not like he was asking them to dust for prints and get the fellas down at the crime lab working in shifts to solve the case!!

  • muttleys March 30, 2009 (3:56 pm)

    Woohoo!!! Such good news.

    Hope to see you soon!!

  • Meghan March 30, 2009 (4:05 pm)

    WONDERFUL!!! I am so happy for you! The best lessons are the ones we learn without an actual loss! :-)

  • AD March 30, 2009 (6:48 pm)


  • jeannie March 30, 2009 (7:14 pm)

    I’m very happy to hear this wonderful news. But is there any news about Pogo, the missing Papillon dog?

  • dolly March 30, 2009 (9:50 pm)

    I just read the craigslist post and it brought tears to my eyes. I am so glad you got Payton back!
    Losing a cherished pet is painful regardless of the circumstances.
    At one time, I regularly left our dog in the car but after a news story a few years ago about a stolen vehicle with someone’s pet in it I have become incredibly protective and paranoid. Anything left unattended in a vehicle is at risk.
    Thank goodness for those ladies in Federal Way and their kind, honest hearts!

  • 56bricks March 30, 2009 (10:18 pm)

    I talked to Pogo’s owners father last week and as of yet – still missing.

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