ROCHESTER, Minn. – Shortly after KIMT aired a story at Midday on Thursday about a $5,000 reward being offered for a dog that went missing after a car was stolen, we received some good news.
80-year-old Dean Webster of Missouri is in Rochester because his wife is receiving care at Mayo Clinic. Webster was on his way to visit his wife when he stopped at the Kwik Trip in Rochester on Commercial Drive around 2:27 P.M. on September 2nd. He had his wife's beloved dog, Ned the Weiner dog, in his vehicle. It was hot, so he left the car running while he went inside to buy a hot dog.
When Webster exited the gas station, his bronze 2004 BMW sedan and black dachshund were gone.
Just before 10 P.M. Tuesday, the vehicle was found undamaged, but out of gas, in Eden Prairie. The dog was not in the vehicle.
Karla Whipple, of Elkton, found the dog at the Lake Geo Travel Plaza in Dexter Tuesday evening. The dog is scared of strangers, and she was not able to lure him to safety. She called law enforcement and an animal shelter. She enlisted the help of a friend, Brandon Kobow, who checked on the dog in the morning, fed it treats and posted its photo to Facebook. At the time, they thought maybe someone had dumped their own dog. Neither the rescuers nor the owner expected a happy ending to this story.
As Webster arrived at the KIMT News 3 Rochester studio to do an interview about his missing dog, a viewer who was watching KIMT's Midday reported that she saw a Facebook post with the missing dog in it. Kobow also began receiving messages from people who saw this dog in his post and the dog on TV and put two and two together. Shortly after, Webster received a phone call from the Rochester Police Department with Kobow's contact information.
KIMT News 3 was there as Webster and Ned were reunited in Dexter.
"I never expected to see him again," Webster says. His wife has an even closer bond with the dog. Webster says she was "ecstatic, to say the least," to hear of the dog's safe return.
Whipple and Kobow didn't know it at the time of the rescue, but Webster was offering $5,000 for the safe return of his dog. Webster said he did this because he knew it would get people's attention. Whipple and Kobow will split the money.
"It's a nice gesture, but giving the dog back's a better one and getting him back to where he's supposed to be," says Kobow.
Webster's wife is being released from Mayo Tuesday afternoon. Webster will pick up his stolen vehicle tomorrow, then he, his wife, Ned, and their other dog will travel home to Missouri.