Panic ensued. Graham and other employees canvassed the neighborhood, calling and searching for Nelson. Graham’s co-workers saw a couple of men on the street and asked if they had seen a dog matching Nelson’s description. They said yes, they had seen the dog – and given it to some people who were driving by.
“Nelson has been part of our family for nine years,” said Dykes, who moved to the area from South Africa in 2002. “We had to find him.”
Graham made signs to post and filed a report with the Gulfport Police Department. By the end of the day, however, Nelson was still missing.
The next day, Graham got a call from a woman who had seen the posters. She told Graham the men his co-workers had talked to the day before had not given Nelson away – they had sold him to her for $400. She’d already purchased a bed, dog food and other supplies and refused to give Nelson back without getting back what she’d paid.
After making sure the dog was indeed Nelson, Graham paid her the $400 and took Nelson home. Gulfport Police told Graham it was unlikely they could find the dognappers, and no charges have been filed.
Back at the office Tuesday, Nelson was running around playfully, like always, seemingly unfazed by his adventure.
“Nothing surprises me,” Graham said. “I was lucky to get Nelson back. Some people in that situation aren’t so lucky.”