Samantha Thell’s chocolate labs Willow and Ellie were dropped off at the Animal Humane Society Wednesday morning after being taken along with her truck.
HUDSON, Wis. — Editor’s note: The video above is from a separate dog theft case. It first aired Jan. 11, 2022.
Samantha Thell is breathing a sigh of relief after her two dogs, stolen along with her pickup from a Planet Fitness parking lot in Hudson, were safely returned Wednesday morning.
Thell tells KARE 11 that she received a call from the Animal Humane Society in Golden Valley telling her that someone had dropped off her dogs. As it turns out, a woman driving her stolen truck pulled up at the drop off door, left the dogs and handed the employee a vet bill she had found in one of the pickup’s storage compartments. On that document was Thell’s name and phone number.
When she walked into the Humane Society for their reunion Wednesday, Thell says the pups were “ready to go” after spending the night with strangers. While the truck is still missing, Thill seems OK with the way things turned out, saying it’s “water under the bridge.”
“I worked very hard for that truck, loved it to pieces, but I love my girls more,” she said.
Her search for chocolate labs Ellie and Willow was documented on Facebook, and widely shared. Among those who became invested in the story was Pet Evolution in Woodbury, which put up a $5,000 reward for information that would help Thell get her dogs back. Now that they’ve been reunited, the store is planning a doggie spa session of sorts, to pamper the pooches after their ordeal.
The happy ending is a bright spot in a recent string of bad luck for Thell. Just last month her home in West St. Paul burned, claiming the life of a puppy and turning her life upside down.
Things got worse on Tuesday night, when Thell’s truck was stolen from the parking lot of Planet Fitness in Hudson, Wisconsin. Willow and Ellie were inside the truck at the time. She says someone went through the gym lockers of customers while they worked out, and when she left her truck and the dogs were nowhere to be found.
Thell explained to KARE 11 that since the fire last month, the change in routine has been difficult, and she’s been bringing the dogs to work with her most days. Tuesday brought driving rain, and rather than leave the girls in a kennel outside all day at the place she’s been staying Thell brought them along with her. She adds that Ellie has epilepsy and needs to be with someone who has her meds.
The truck was locked, Thell said, and the dogs were safe when she ducked inside for a quick workout.
“I don’t care about the truck,” she told KARE 11 through tears. “I just want my dogs back.”
Hudson police confirm they received a report from Thell Tuesday night, and while the dogs have been found police haven’t confirmed if Thell’s truck was also retrieved. If you see an all-black 2017 Chevrolet Silverado pickup, Minnesota license plate EGP-359, call Hudson police.
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