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Stolen Castro Valley, CA. Dog Reunited With Owner

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By Eric Kurhi for Oakland Tribune

CASTRO VALLEY — Looking considerably heavier and a bit nappy, Lula the dognapped bichon frise-papillon mix was reunited with her owner Wednesday after being purchased at the San Jose Flea Market about a week after her Aug. 6 disappearance.

Owner Robert Cassidy couldn’t be happier. He’s lined up an appointment at a dog salon this morning to give Lula the spa treatment, and posted a YouTube video of the crazy-tailed reunion of Lula and his other little dog, Sailor.

“I don’t care about the material stuff that got stolen,” Cassidy said. “I didn’t even ask about it; I’m not going to go look for it.”

Lula was taken from his home along with electronics and other items. Cassidy later found out that 10 nearby residents also had been recently burglarized, but he was the only one who lost a companion.

Cassidy said he was contacted earlier this week by an Oakland woman who said she had purchased the year-old dog for her daughter at the flea market. Three men selling the dog told her a niece no longer could take care of Lula — they removed her identifying tags but kept the name — and she could be had for $300.

“She and her daughter fell in love with her,” Cassidy said.

But on Tuesday, a missing dog flier came to their attention. Cassidy had printed thousands of them, and posted 300 in English and Spanish on International Boulevard alone, near where the family lives.

“The mother saw the flier and mentioned it to her daughter, who had gotten quite attached to Lula,” Cassidy said. “But (the mother) said they have to give her back to the rightful owners, and it would be their last night with Lula.”

Lula was returned, 3 pounds heavier than when she was taken. That’s a big gain for a 5-pound dog.

“That’s like another half a dog,” Cassidy said.

He praised the family for returning the dog — reaping a $1,100 reward in the process — as well as the outpouring he received from the community, including hundreds of tips from people who saw the fliers or website or Craigslist postings.

But he had his share of crank calls, too.

“One guy called and asked if I was (1970s pop star) Shawn Cassidy,” he said. “Another guy called and said he’s the one who stole my dog and he would only give her back if he could take a shower with me.”

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