The owners of a yellow Labrador that was taken from a cottage west of Ottawa are asking for the dog to be returned after the apparent thief left a note accusing them of mistreating the dog.
Buckaroo disappeared Wednesday from a family cottage on Higgins Lane in Cloyne, Ont., near Shabomeeka Lake. He had been tied up outside.
At first, his owner Peter Phillips thought the 16-month-old dog might have run off, but after a few days of searching Phillips found a note telling him to stop looking for the dog.
"It's just a rollercoaster of emotions for us," he said. "All the time that we've spent, like days and days looking for him in the woods thinking he's missing. And then to get that note saying stop looking for him, I have him. It's just, who would do something like that?"
The note described the dog as underweight and neglected, reading at one point: "He deserves a better life than you gave him."
Phillips said whoever wrote the note was making assumptions.
'He's my best friend'
Buckaroo is a member of the family, according to Phillips, who works in Gjoa Haven, Nunavut, as an RCMP officer. He said the dog is his companion when he's up north.
"Everybody loves Buckaroo. I love Buckaroo. He's my best friend," Phillips said.
His sister-in-law, Jordin Legate, also describes Buckaroo as a member of the family that's treated well. She said the dog did have some health conditions — including a recently-discovered allergy to beef that made the dog look skinny and led to patches on his ears.
"Everything that was in the note was completely out of context and so wrong," said Legate, who works in a veterinarian clinic.
"It was just basically horrifying and devastating to know that somebody in the community didn't think to either come and knock on the door and ask us about him or call the OSPCA. They just decided to just take him and kidnap him on us."
Legate said the family just wants the dog back.
"We just want him home. We want the person who took him to bring him back to us," she said.
OPP in Lennox and Addington confirm they are investigating the dog's disappearance as a theft. They say there is no evidence the dog was mistreated.