When thieves stole one family’s car with their dog still inside the vehicle, the pooch’s owners were naturally distraught. And, as a result, they launched an ambitious rescue mission to get their canine companion back. Three days into their search, however, the worried family received an urgent call from the police.
That family were the Hamiltons – Carolyn, her husband Jeff and their daughters Eleanore and Frances – who live in Truckee, California. And as with many parents, the couple would do practically anything for their children. So, when one of their girls was experiencing a tough time, they bought her a dog to cheer her up.
The Hamiltons would go on to name that dog Albus, after Hogwarts headmaster Albus Dumbledore from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. And, according to Carolyn, the canine lived up to his namesake. Indeed, in October 2017 the mother-of-two told News 4 that what the dog had provided her family with had been “magical.”
And by the time Albus was six years old, he was a major part of the Hamilton family. In fact, he had become quite the beloved companion. When someone stole the animal from right beneath Carolyn and Jeff’s noses, then, it could very well have been traumatizing for the couple.
And their ordeal had begun one night in October 2017, when Carolyn and Jeff had been getting ready to take Albus out in their car. However, while their backs had been turned, someone leapt into the vehicle and made off with both it and the dog. “We just put [Albus] in the truck in our driveway, came back in to say goodbye and literally turned around and the truck was gone,” Carolyn revealed to WGN9 in October 2017.
The distraught dog owners then contacted police in Truckee, and the cops – alongside the California Highway Patrol – started a high-speed chase in pursuit of the stolen vehicle. However, the suspect apparently had no intention of being caught. Consequently, when the individual concerned thundered past several stop signs and ignored red lights, the police called off their hunt as it had become too dangerous.
By the time the cops had ended their pursuit, they were already in Reno, Nevada. But while they may have called time on the chase, they hadn’t given up on catching the suspects. As a result, they released the information they had on the theft to the public.
Police revealed, moreover, that CCTV footage had captured two men acting suspiciously in the moments leading up to the theft. They even appeared to have taken items from the Hamiltons’ vehicle shortly before it was stolen. And these two men, it turned out, were crucial to cops’ inquiries.
Furthermore, details of the Hamiltons’ car were publicized in the hope that someone might have spotted it. In a statement, police said that they were searching for a Dodge Ram truck in the colors of black and silver. They also shared its license plate details to ensure that any leads concerned the correct vehicle.
In the meantime, Albus’ family had to come to terms with the prospect of never seeing their beloved dog again. And according to Carolyn, it was her children who had taken the news of the theft the hardest. “One daughter is very angry at the world, and the other one is crying her eyes out,” she revealed to News 4.
As for the girls’ parents, they were just amazed that someone could be so shameless as to steal from under their noses. “To have your dog in the car just before you head out doesn’t feel like a dangerous thing to do,” Carolyn added to News 4. “Leaving your door open feels very normal, so your friend can drop something off.”
But according to Peter Mann – an officer for the California Highway Patrol – Carolyn might have been naive to leave her car unattended. In particular, he remarked that while the Truckee neighborhood had been extremely safe 30 or so years ago, that isn’t the case today.
Mann even claimed that 90 percent of the stolen vehicles in the area had had keys left in them. So, it wasn’t just the Hamiltons who had thought the best of people. Now, however, law enforcement wanted to remind residents to always lock their doors and to never leave their keys inside their vehicles.
The Hamilton family refused to wallow in their misfortune, though. Instead, they appealed to friends and family to help them search for Albus in Reno and the surrounding area. So, for three days, Carolyn, Jeff and their search party left no stone unturned in the hope of finding the pet safe.
Then, 72 hours later, the family received a call from the police. It turned out that cops had tracked their car down to a neighborhood in Reno. Inside, they had found the frail body of Albus. And, miraculously, after three warm days and three cold nights inside the truck, the pooch was alive.
After cops had freed Albus from the vehicle, moreover, they had rushed the animal to an emergency veterinary clinic. There, vets discovered that the dog was exhausted and dehydrated but otherwise fine. And, even more surprisingly, it turned out that the Hamiltons’ truck was also unharmed.
“My truck was unscathed,” Jeff revealed on Facebook in October 2017. “My mountain bike was still in the back and Carolyn’s chocolate bar was still in the front seat. The truck was abandoned in a quiet residential street, less than a quarter of a mile from where the search was called off.”
So, the family eventually got the happy ending they deserved. Albus, too, had a fortunate fate; he ended up staying on at the vets while they treated his dehydration but was otherwise expected to make a full recovery. However, despite the positive outcome, police continued to search for those responsible for the theft.
The Hamiltons were just grateful, though, that cops had found their pet safe and sound and had treated him with the utmost compassion. “They had a tenderness about them that you don’t attach to police officers, but we should from now on,” Carolyn explained to WGN9.
And while she’d never wish her family’s ordeal on anyone, Carolyn also admitted that people go through greater hardships every day. “We tried to always compare our grief to the larger grief,” she explained. Instead, Carolyn said, she is now able to empathize with those in dire situations. “I think what happened is that we were able to just be a little more compassionate for people who experience loss,” she revealed.