A Northeast Philadelphia family is asking for the public’s help to find their beloved puppy, who served as a teen's therapy dog and was taken just yards from their home.
Elizabeth Colon said 6-month-old puppy Niko got out of the family’s house on the 800 block of Scattergood Street while she and her daughter were taking out the trash on Sept. 21. Surveillance cameras captured at least two people walking away with the dog, a Yorkie-Poodle mix who helps Colon’s 15-year-old grandson deal with severe anxiety.
Colon said two high school-aged boys wearing backpacks walked by the street with a woman shortly after Niko got out. A neighbor told Colon that the three asked if the dog belonged to anyone, to which the neighbor replied that she wasn’t sure but that Niko may have belonged to someone from the neighborhood.
“They made as if they were looking around. If they had looked around well, we were at the door of the house. They left. They took him,” Colon said.
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Since Niko was taken, Colon’s grandson has been inconsolable, missing his best friend.
“He would drop to the floor and spent a lot of time there playing with [Niko],” Colon said, recalling the good times her grandson had with the puppy. “The dog was always behind him. He slept with him.”
Colon said the family has canvassed the neighborhood and regularly checked animal shelters to no avail. Some people have come forward and tried to help, with one person bringing them a dog similar to Niko.
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The family actually traced that dog’s owner back to North Philadelphia, Colon said. Now she’s hoping someone else can reciprocate that effort and return Niko to them.
The pup weighs around five pounds, is gray, tan and black in color and has floppy ears, Colon said. People with information are asked to reach out to the family at 267-709-3509 or 267-506-5886. A $200 reward is being offered.
Colon doesn’t believe the people who took Niko did it out of malice. She added that the family just wants Niko back and has no intention to file any criminal charges.
“The dog doesn’t have monetary value, really,” Colon said. “His value is something you can’t quantify with money because it’s the health and mental wellbeing of a family and especially a child.”