PEPPERELL — Although the dogs are just months old, Malisa Mignosa describes her puppies as a part of the family.
“We’re one of the most crazy dog-loving families in the entire world,” Mignosa said. “We were just absolutely devastated that someone would take part of our family away for who knows what reason.”
Mignosa, Sean Parsons and their children, Ayva and Grady Parsons, have reunited with their two puppies who were allegedly stolen on Sunday. One dog was found in a Burlington hotel shortly after disappearing, and the other was found in Hudson, N.H. two days later.
“I was screaming hysterically. It was beyond relief,” Mignosa said, on hearing that the second dog had been found. “I never thought I was going to see them again. I tried to keep faith, but I never truly knew if I would get to hold them again.”
Eight-month old mixed breed Rosie and 4-month-old Rottweiler Jack were presumed stolen after leaving the family’s yard on Shattuck Street around 9 a.m. Sunday.
The two puppies either escaped the family’s fenced yard on their own by climbing on to a high snow pile, or were lured out by someone outside the fence, according to Mignosa.
Mignosa reported the dogs missing to the Pepperell Police Department on Sunday and said she was planning to file a larceny report on Tuesday. As of Tuesday afternoon, a spokesman for the Pepperell Police Department said the investigation was ongoing.
Mignosa also reported the loss to Granite State Dog Recovery, which helps to reunite missing dogs with their owners.
“We had an army of people looking and stopping and talking and yelling and just searching for our dogs,” she said.
The dogs were not wearing identification, as Mignosa said she did not expect them to leave the yard.
Rosie was found wandering the hallways of the fifth floor of Burlington’s Marriott hotel around 11 a.m. Sunday.
Jack was found Tuesday morning in the parking lot of Walmart in Hudson, N.H. and taken to Kodiak Veterinary Center, where some distinctive scabs on his neck were used to identify him.
Burlington Animal Control Officer Gerry Mills said the case is one of the most unusual he has seen.
“I’ve been the Animal Control Officer here more than 15 years and I can only think of one other situation where there was a stolen dog in all those years,” Mills said.
He said he has asked the hotel to look through its security tapes in order to track down whoever brought Rosie there. A representative for the hotel did not return calls for comment.
For Mignosa, the news that Rosie had been found was bittersweet while Jack was still missing.
“I was thrilled until I realized that she was alone. And then I was frantic again,” Mignosa said. “That would be like saying that I’ve got Ayva, but Grady’s lost. It wouldn’t bring me any comfort.”
Mignosa said she believes that Rosie was abandoned first because she is mixed breed and spayed, and therefore would not be worth as much money as Jack, a purebred.
“So I assume that it’s someone looking for quick cash thinking that they can sell my family member and make a quick buck,” Mignosa said. She said that purebred Rottweilers can be worth up to $2,000.
She thinks that whoever took the dogs had planned to sell Jack, but had abandoned him too in fear of getting caught after seeing his picture posted around the region and shared on social media.
For a family that has always had Rottweilers, the loss had hit them hard.
The two dogs had quickly become an integral part of the family of self-described dog lovers.
Mignosa said Ayva had immediately bonded with rescue dog Rosie, while Grady had become attached to Jack.
As Ayva played tug-of-war with Rosie, she described the first time they had met when the family was looking for a rescue dog to adopt.
“She came over to me when I opened the cage and started licking me and she stayed with me the whole time,” she said.
Once Jack was returned also, Mignosa said the family was complete again.
“My son just laid on him for 10 minutes when we got him back. I can’t even express how I felt,” Mignosa said.
Follow Chelsea Feinstein on Twitter and Tout @CEFeinstein.