Stolen dog returned and owner shares powerful message
A Chinese Shar-Pei dog (Darla) that was stolen from the backyard of a Cranbrook residence on June 18 has been returned to her owner thanks to a guilty conscience.
Brayden Morton reported June 19 in an emotional Facebook post that Darla had been returned by one of the people who took her.
He also shared an incredible story of forgiveness, compassion and courage with a message everyone should heed.
“Tonight was one of the worst best nights I’ve ever had. At about 6 p.m. I was told that they thought they had found Darla but she wasn’t alive and my heart dropped like nothing I’ve ever imagined,” Brayden’s post began.
“As I’m sitting in my vehicle waiting to find out, I get a phone call from a blocked number. I answered and all I heard was what sounded to be like a young lady crying. I knew in my heart that this person had my dog or knew where she was. She was hysterically apologizing and said she had grabbed Darla from where she was because she couldn’t live with herself for assisting in taking her.”
Brayden said he returned home to get the reward money ($5,000) and then went to meet this lady.
“She was already waiting at the spot she had asked to meet. As soon as I saw this young girl I knew she was addicted to drugs. I walked up to her and gave her a hug and told her it was all right and I wasn’t mad because I understand what she’s going through all too well. I am a recovering fentanyl addict who has been in recovery for just over six years and I am a drug and alcohol interventionist now. I was living the exact same way as she was six short years ago. I told her about my past and how messed up I was; we talked for about 20 minutes. She told me she didn’t want the reward money; she just couldn’t live with herself for taking Darla.
“She knew how many times my post had been shared and felt like shit about what she assisted in. I asked her if I could pay for her to go to treatment and this poor young girl and I just cried together and she finally said ‘yes.’”
Brayden then added another layer to his incredible story.
“The second part of this story is the guy who I was sure had something to do with Darla being taken. She informed me he didn’t and told me who it was who had planned this. I got hold of my friend and asked when we could get this girl into treatment in New West and she said ‘right away and we will do whatever it takes to get her here.’”
Brayden said a short time later he saw the man who he initially thought may have been responsible for Darla’s abduction and approached him.
“I had to pull over and talk to him as I felt bad for my reaction when I initially found him. He was trying to sleep in his truck and had two dogs with him. I told him I apologized for the way I acted and I’m sorry for accusing him.
“He started telling me about the way his life has gone the past few weeks and how he ended up homeless and in Cranbrook. I gave him a hug goodbye and was leaving. When I was driving I knew I couldn’t leave him there with those dogs outside. I went back and told him to follow me; and I went and got him a hotel for a week. We went and got him and his two dogs in a room.”
Noting that he has gone through the toughest two weeks of his life, Brayden said, “Having Darla taken felt like my whole world was crashing down on me. Tonight was a night I will never forget and I am truly humbled.
“Life is a crazy thing and sometimes it’s hard but no matter what we’re going where we’re supposed to be to be a better person. I hope this gets shared as many times as what all you great people shared to find her.
“Hopefully it sends the message as people we need to be there for each other and our experience sometimes isn’t for us it’s for someone else and don’t always write someone off. There are a lot of good people who are addicted to drugs; sometimes they just need someone to talk to and to go for help.
“I am so grateful for the people who didn’t give up on me and I’m grateful for the ones who did. Thank all you guys so much you have no idea what this means to me. Thank you all so much sincerely Brayden, Louis and Darla.”
Lead image: Darla. Brayden Morton photo