Snatched Rock Hill dog found, reunited with family

Herald columnistSeptember 23, 2013 

— After almost five days of either being dog-napped – or just plain being lost – Zoe the dog was reunited with her family Monday.

The FBI was not needed. No SWAT team. Just a caring teenager who reads the newspaper was enough.

Meghan Howard, 15, found Zoe Saturday wandering near Winthrop University and took her home. She then read in The Herald about Zoe possibly having been dog-napped, or at least lost.

The dog’s owner, Daniel Wells, went to meet with Howard’s mom Monday and immediately said, “Zoe! Come here girl!”

Zoe came to him, bouncing and jumping and circling him and his toddler son, Ralphie.

“We have been worried for days,” said Wells, a pastor at Hill City Church in Rock Hill.

Zoe went missing Wednesday night after darting through the family’s front door. Last week, Wells filed a police report indicating the dog might have been stolen, after hearing about somebody trying to entice the dog into an SUV.

Ashlee Wells, Daniel’s wife, was probably the most traumatized by the missing dog, and felt pretty bad about the front door being left open for Zoe to run through. She made flyers and put them up all over the Cedar Crest Park neighborhood near Glencairn Garden and other parts of the city.

After The Herald story was published, a neighbor told Daniel Wells he saw someone put a rope around the Zoe’s neck and take off with her.

“It appears that somebody dog-napped her, but the most important thing is she is home now,” Wells said. “The girl who found her and called in, she’s a hero to us.”

Howard, a student at Northwestern High School, saw Zoe wandering around near where she attends church.

“I just took her home and she was playing with the other dogs,” Meghan said. “I’m so happy she now is home with her family.”

Howard’s family fed Zoe, who was even skinnier than the skinny mutt she had been five days earlier, then Howard contacted The Herald Monday morning to say she thought she had the missing dog.

Her mom, Rachele Palermo, met with Daniel Wells just minutes later to orchestrate the reunion that brought such joy to little Ralphie Wells’ 20-month-old face.

After he picked up Zoe, Daniel Wells did not immediately call his wife Monday morning to tell her their family was once again whole. Ashlee Wells was tutoring children at a friend’s home.

Instead, Daniel Wells just showed up at the friend’s house and whispered to the kids: “Go tell Ashlee I have a surprise for her.”

Ashlee Wells rushed out of the house with Simon, the couple’s infant son, in her arms. The first thing she saw was her husband, grinning like a cat.

Then she saw Zoe.

And Zoe showed her exactly how much she loved her the way dogs do: She stuck out her tongue and licked Ashlee right on the face.

Andrew Dys •  803-329-4065 •  adys@heraldonline.com

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