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A Christmastime reunion

Kayla Walling, 14, holds up her puppy, Akiko, with whom she was reunited late Thursday. A woman found the dog near the county trash convenience center. She cared for Akiko until reading about the missing dog in The Herald and returning it to Kayla.
Kayla Walling, 14, holds up her puppy, Akiko, with whom she was reunited late Thursday. A woman found the dog near the county trash convenience center. She cared for Akiko until reading about the missing dog in The Herald and returning it to Kayla.

Yes, Kayla, there is a Santa Claus.

Late Thursday, after my column about Kayla Walling's missing puppy appeared in The Herald, Kayla's father's phone rang.

"The lady said, 'I think we have your dog,'" Mark Walling said.

Later that night, a woman appeared at the front door of his house with Akiko, the 4-month-old chiweenie mix of a chihuahua and dachshund. When Kayla grabbed that puppy, there was no "think" about it.

Kayla had her dog back.

The dog had been found by a lady at the county trash convenience center near Walling's house, but she didn't know where to find the owner. The nice people kept the puppy and gave her the name "Gracie."

Walling thanked the woman, and she left. Two weeks of putting out fliers, The family's search for the dog was over.

"My little girl is happy, so I'm happy," Walling said.

Kayla played with her puppy. For the first time in two weeks, she didn't cry to her dad at night.

Then Friday when she got home from school, she played with her puppy again.

"When I saw her, I cried so hard," Kayla said.

But this time, happy tears.

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