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Man Pays $10,000 As Reward For His Stolen Dog

By Brian Chasnoff For Express-news.net

San Antonio, TEXAS — For Christmas this year, Chris Cooley gave a stranger a generous gift in exchange for something he considers priceless.

When someone called him on Christmas Eve and said he’d found his missing golden retriever, the Cotulla rancher promptly handed over the $10,000 he’d sworn as reward money for whomever returned his dog, Jim Bowie. The dog was stolen last week along with Cooley’s pickup and trailer from the Bass Pro

Shop parking lot off of Interstate 10.

Home again for the holidays, Jim Bowie tore through Cooley’s North Side home Saturday, a boisterous reunion that proved more than a Christmas gift — Dec.

25 is both Cooley’s and the dog’s birthday. J.B. turned 1 and Cooley 46.

The reward’s recipient, Nathan Ramos, told Cooley he was walking his own dog, a Chihuahua, near the Medical Center on Friday when the retriever bounded toward them in the street.

Ramos, 37, had seen Cooley’s offer on television. But he was “in shock” when the relieved rancher actually wrote him a check for $10,000, Cooley said.

“Pretty good present for both of us,” Cooley said. “It was a sacrifice, but it was the only way I could reach everywhere, including Mexico.”

After the Ford F-250’s disappearance Tuesday, Cooley feared the thieves had crossed the Texas-Mexico border with his dog in tow. The pickup and trailer wer still missing Saturday, along with six cattle gates and reams of financial paperwork inside the cab.

But Cooley said he’d retrieved the most valuable cargo.

“Just imagine your child,” Cooley said.

Ramos did not return messages left Saturday. Cooley said Ramos told him the $10,000 would help relieve medical debts incurred for his late father’s liver transplant.

The rancher is not above concerns that his dog’s return was somehow related to the theft. But he put suspicions aside to retrieve Jim Bowie, showing up at the caller’s apartment with three friends and a television news crew.

Ramos met them in the courtyard, Cooley said, and seemed displeased with the cameras.

“I went on television pledging the $10,000, and I wasn’t going to turn around and not have integrity about it,” Cooley said. “I hope it’s legitimate.”

Cooley had slept and eaten little in the days since the theft, feeling as if a member of his family had been kidnapped.

J.B. is among a long line of field and hunting trial champion golden retrievers bred by Cooley for friends and family. Cooley keeps Jim Bowie’s mother, father, and brother at his house.

“These dogs have been integrated in my family and with my friends for 25 years,” Cooley said. “They are the family. I don’t have any children. I take them everywhere.”

After the theft, Cooley and his brother, Mark, mulled the question: What are we willing to sacrifice? The first sum was $5,000, but Cooley doubled that to ensure a reunion.

Mark fronted his brother the figure from his bank account; otherwise Cooley would have had to dip into his retirement fund.

“It’s a hit, for sure,” Cooley said. “I’m not poor, but popping that out: That’s not easy.”

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Irene Adrian
Irene Adrian
12 years ago

I see the intensity of your hold on your dog…I would have given everything I had if my Solo pup (150 pound German Shepherd) was taken and could be gotten back. Glad he’s home.

Cjustpeachie
Cjustpeachie
12 years ago

I also can see how tightly you are holding on to your best friend and I know just how you feel!! Our collie “Prince” was lost for 29 days…29 days of crying constantly and praying for him to return. Someone found him and we paid him the 100 hundred dollars we had offered as a reward for his return. It wasn’t 10 thousand dollars but it was a lot for us at the time!! But, he was worth a million to us!! So happy he was found and you have him once again.

Toms_mom
Toms_mom
12 years ago

Its so nice to see happy endings like these, although I myself would have never accepted the reward. The offer of it, understandable. But I know how much my dogs mean to me, and seeing a man reunited with his “baby” would have been reward enough.

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