Richard Brower finds stolen dog and 'best buddy' Dozer online

Richard Brower was finally ready to accept his dog was gone, a year and a half after Dozer was stolen. But while online searching for another pet, he found the German shepherd. 'My heart just kind of sank and I started shaking,' Brower told CBC Radio's The Eyeopener. Read all about what led up to the tearful reunion.

Alberta man reunited with dog after 18 months while looking for new one on rescue society website

Richard Brower of Alberta found his beloved German shepherd Dozer while searching for another pet on the Claresholm Rescue Society's website - 18 months after the dog was stolen from his backyard. (Richard Brower)

A year and a half after his beloved German shepherd went missing, Alberta man Richard Brower was finally ready to accept that his pet was gone.

So he went searching for a new dog — on the Claresholm Rescue Society's website, only to spot his missing dog Dozer on the first posting. The two were reunited later that same day.

Here's Brower's story, as told to CBC Radio's David Gray of The Eyeopener:

  • To hear the audio of the interview, click the Listen button to the left

David Gray (DG): What did you see when you started browsing on the Claresholm animal shelter site?

Richard Brower (RB): It was the first post that came up, and Dozer was just staring me back in the face, looking pretty much like he did 18 months before. And my heart just kind of sank and I started shaking.

I called Claresholm right away, and as I was telling her what Dozer looked like, my mom called my father who was just leaving [the town of] Picture Butte out by Lethbridge on his way past, so he stopped in.

He walked in, and as soon as Dozer saw him, he started going nuts, and wagging his tail and we knew immediately, and he was brought back to me that night.

DG: How did you lose Dozer in the first place?

RB: He was taken from the backyard. I had locks on both the front and back.

The pins were pulled from the front gate and he was obviously taken.

We don't know what happened to him after that. He was definitely taken care of. He had no loss of weight or anything.

He was found about two hours away on a farm somewhere, just wandering.

The lady said he was friendly, he just came right up and they brought him to Claresholm.

He'd been at Claresholm for just abut a month when I found him.

DG: Eighteen months had gone by. After he went missing, did a day go by when you didn't look for the dog?

RB: No, no, I was absolutely devastated. He's my best buddy.

He's 10 years old now, so we lost just about two years together, but I'm just so happy to have him back.

DG: When your dad went to Claresholm for you, did you give him any specific instructions to test that it really was Dozer?

RB: Yeah, I did. One of the first things I taught him was to snap my fingers, and then he'll come around to my right side and wait for his second command.

So I asked dad to go in the cage. The lady was there, and I didn't say what he would do, I just said, ‘Snap your fingers.’

Then I said, 'What did he do?' He said, 'He's sitting on my right-hand side looking straight up at me.'

The lady at Claresholm started crying, I started crying, and all the other people at the shelter were crying.

Yeah, It was quite the day.

It was just amazing when he got home. As soon as he got on the block, dad said his tail started wagging, and as soon as he pulled into the driveway I opened the door and he just flew right in and buried his head in my armpit and just started whining like a baby.

Friends of mine, I mean, I have friends, we go out riding bikes together, some pretty big tough guys, and they were just bawling their heads off when they found out about Dozer.

DG: Are you spoiling him now that he's home?

RB: Oh absolutely, yeah. He was never allowed to sleep on the bed, but he's been on the bed just about every single night since he's been home.

He's got lots of toys, gifts from everybody, so he's got more stuff than he knows what to do with.

DG: What's he doing right now?

RB: He's probably wondering why we're not going for a walk. Usually when we get up, it's the first thing he wants to do.