Marley, a pint-size Yorkshire terrier, stolen in October, has returned home just in time for Christmas.
Northeast Buffalo police officers never gave up on trying to find the Kuhl family's 6-pound pet, taken from in front of their Northumberland Avenue house on Oct. 16. A sharp-eyed officer recognized the pooch while investigating a domestic complaint Tuesday.
"It was a Christmas miracle, that would not have happened except for Detective Gerry Guilian. He and the other officers never gave up. They were all part of this," said Carla Kuhl, the owner of the dog.
"Our little hostage was returned to us," said her husband, Randy Kuhl.
The reunion occurred Tuesday evening when Officer Allysa Taborn and her field training officer Kevin Kindzierski responded to a domestic call on the first block of Poultney Avenue. While they were filling out their paperwork, Taborn could not take her eyes off of the small dog in the house.
"The dog she thought looked very familiar, but from where?" wrote Northeast Lt. James Hosking in a memo praising Taborn and Kindzierski.
"She thought about it for a few minutes and then she realized this dog looked identical to the 4-year-old Yorkie that had been stolen two months earlier. The only way she would have known about this dog is by seeing the flier that Detective Guilian had created earlier."
Taborn consulted her training officer and he agreed. The officers then notified Guilian, who called Carla Kuhl, and brought her to the house on Poultney Avenue.
The little Yorkie came into the room and reacted instantly to seeing his owner and best friend, who was standing beside the detective. Kuhl gasped and began to sob, as the tiny hound ran directly to her. It was Marley, her long-lost friend.
The lieutenant said the theft of the dog was a heartless crime, but ended in a "favorable conclusion," noting that Guilian had put up posters of the dog throughout the Northeast station for officers to see.
Carla Kuhl told The Buffalo News on Wednesday that she was so grateful that her family was reunited with Marley that she decided not to press charges. The dog had been stolen from in front of her home at about 2:30 p.m. Oct. 16. She said she heard two women outside the house talking about how cute the dog was, then heard a car speeding away. When she went out to check, Marley was gone.
"Marley is truly a member of our family. It's amazing when we brought him home Tuesday night, he went straight for his toys, then we gave him a bath and he slept with our 9-year-old daughter Evie, like he does every night," Kuhl said. "It was a big cry-fest at our house."
"The fact the police remembered our dog after six weeks ... " marveled Randy Kuhl.
Top Buffalo police officials commended all of the officers involved, adding that Taborn is off to a great start in her career.
"Officer Taborn made this family's Christmas a merry one," Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda said.
Northeast District Chief Carmen Menenza said, "This shows Buffalo Police officers are not just out there chasing bad guys. We have hearts, we have families, we have pets, and this is what Christmas is all about."