Tails wag and tears flow as stolen dog returns home

More than a month after he was dog-napped, Guido the pug is home.  

Back on May 29, Donald Murray’s car was stolen from a parking lot off North Dale Mabry while he worked to clean the lot.  Sleeping inside the car was Guido, a 7-year-old pug.  

Guido was like family to Murray.  The pair were together around the clock, even when the 69-year-old was working.

"He is my playmate, he is my companion, my teacher, he's just a million different things," Murray said at the time.

Murray’s Dodge Stratus was found the next day, but there was no sign of Guido. He’d begun to lose hope, even after Crime Stoppers of Tampa Bay offered a $3,000 reward for the missing pug.

"He is my playmate, he is my companion, my teacher, he's just a million different things," Murray said at the time.

But apparently, Guido had been ditched by the car thief, too. The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office says he was dropped off behind a Publix and then wandered over to Majik Touch Cleaners & Laundry, where employees figured he’d been abandoned.  

"The young woman who works in the morning had seen the dog being dropped off by some random person driving through the parking lot so I was like, 'Oh my god, I've always wanted a pug,' and she's like, 'Here's a pug,'" Karlene Rowell recalled. "So, he came home with me and meshed right into the family."

Rowell took care of the dog, whom she named "Weezy" for a month before an anonymous tip helped deputies follow Guido’s trail. They brought Murray to Rowell’s home Tuesday night, and he was near tears to be reunited with his best friend.

“My sweet boy! Yes!” Murray exclaimed as Guido wagged his tail and, seemingly, his whole body.

Wednesday afternoon, Murray stopped by Rowell's with Guido to give her a cash gift for taking such good care of his dog. "There's nobody in the whole county that's having a better Fourth of July than Donald L. Murray," he said, "and Guido, old Guido."

The happy reunion was bittersweet for Rowell who grew attached to little "Weezy."

"I'm like, aww, Weezy had a happy ending. Now, he's Guido again," Rowell laughed.

But, the dog owners are planning future play dates with Rowell's other dogs. For a tale that had a rough beginning, it sure had the happiest of endings.

"There's no way I could ever express the natural lift that I have," Murray added. "I am levitating right now."