Arnold the puppy allegedly stolen from Thornlie home three days after Christmas returned to ecstatic family


A family who “lost hope” they would ever see their beloved puppy again – after he was allegedly stolen from their home three days after Christmas – have told of the heart-warming moment police officers reunited them with their pooch.

As Chris and Alex, who did not want their surname published, and their three children welcomed home their dog Arnold, a 48-year-old woman faced a raft of serious charges in court on Friday after the French Mastiff was allegedly dognapped from the Thornlie home on December 28.

Police allege the woman broke into the property before fleeing with the family pet.

But after a dogged effort by detectives, eight-week-old Arnold was recovered after police apprehended the alleged culprit at a Redcliffe home.

Chris and Alex said the moment police knocked on their door — five days after Arnold went missing — felt like a “dream”.

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“I looked down and saw doggo sitting at the door… excuse my French, but I said ‘f**k off”, kicked the door open, picked him up and held him in my arms,” Chris said.

“In the back of my mind, I’d given up nearly all hope that we were ever going to see him again…

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“I told my (two-year-old) daughter the dog had been taken, but that we’d see him soon … it was actually that night that the police brought him back, which was pretty special.”

Alex said she was in tears when detectives arrived at her door after she’d been scouring social media for any sign of Arnold.

“I didn’t realise how attached we were to him already.”

Arnold was unfazed by the fuss and immediately took a nap underneath the family Christmas tree upon his return home.

“We had only had him less than a week, but he’s already part of the family,” he said.

Camera IconArmadale Detectives hold Arnold the stolen puppy. Credit: Instagram/ Instagram

“Put it this way, before he went he was sleeping in the laundry and now he’s sleeping in my spot in the bed.”

Alex added that “he sleeps a lot, he’s playful, he’s not overly excited… he’s all we could ask for really.”

The family thanked Armadale Police in person for their help at the station on Friday.

“We can’t be any more grateful, I don’t even have words to express the gratitude that we’ve got for the effort they put in,” Chris said.

“The police have got a lot on their plate to take on board a dog or puppy and to do what they did with success… I’m overwhelmed with gratitude.

“I was fighting back emotion … but they could probably see that I was tearing up … I got the feeling that they (Armadale detectives) got a genuine buzz by seeing our reaction.”

WA Police posted to social media on Thursday celebrating the “paw-sitively determined” efforts of detectives.

“Following inquiries, detectives arrested the woman at a home in Redcliffe and recovered the puppy,” the post read.

“The cute canine was reunited with his ecstatic family, capturing the hearts of Armadale Detectives along the way.”

Arnold is expected to be up to 60kg in size when fully grown. Chris said that the puppy almost “doubled in size” during his five-day adventure.

“If you look at the paws on him, he’s got Road Runner legs in comparison to the rest of his body.”

Nichole Lee Elliot-Garwood faced Armadale Magistrates Court charged with stealing the dog.

She’s also facing other charges, many of them drug related.

The court heard she is due to face trial in February on unrelated charges and was on bail for those offences when she allegedly took the dog.

Ms Elliot-Garwood – who faced court via video link from Melaleuca Women’s Prison – was granted bail on her new charges on Friday.

She must abide by a curfew and put forward a $5,000 personal undertaking.

She will next face court on February 1.



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