Last week, actress Clementine Ford-Wilcox went through what could be considered the most traumatic and scary event that a pet owner could experience. Ford’s beloved dog, Winnie, was reported stolen by her dog sitter.
Ford hired a pet sitter through the well-known company Rover.com. The chosen sitter had been verified and credentialed through Rover and had even undergone a thorough criminal background check.
And while there were no indications that this sitter (whose name has not yet been released to the public) was up to something sinister, the story, as it unfurled, pointed to exactly that.
Ford dropped Winnie, a gorgeous golden mutt, off with her new sitter just before leaving town for a wedding. At first, there was no apparent reason for the family to be concerned. However, the family became distraught when they had not heard back from their sitter for over twenty-four hours, despite several requests for updates.
The Ford family immediately began the journey home to retrieve Winnie. However, when they arrived at the apartment she was last seen in, the unit was completely empty – no dog crate, no pet sitter, and no Winnie. The landlord informed the family and police that the unit had been vacant for six days.
The family was incredibly troubled over Winnie’s disappearance, wondering where in the world she could have gone. Ford filed a police report immediately and took to social media to spread the word about Winnie’s disappearance. With over ten thousand followers on Instagram, Ford held out hope that she may yet find a lead.
Many star-studded actors and actresses assisted in the social media campaign for Winnie’s return, including Sarah Paulson, a long-time friend of the family. Paulson, who has long been an advocate for the rescue community, was actually the one to bring Winnie into the lives of the Ford family back in December of last year.
”(Winnie) was TERRIFIED when we met. Sudden movements would send her to a corner. If she hadn’t opened up… the way she did, we might have missed out on the magic. Thanks to @facesofdevoreandbigbear, @mssarahcatharinepaulson, (and) @sallysrescue for getting her out of the high kill shelter she had been returned to. I am forever in your debt. Extra shout out to Sarah because, if you know you know. ❤️ ”- Clementine Ford-Wilcox
Winnie quickly stole the hearts of the Ford family, making her disappearance even more tragic. The Fords reached out to Rover.com immediately, whose 24/7 Trust and Safety Team went to work immediately to find Winnie (and the suspected dog-napper).
“Our 24/7 Trust and Safety team took immediate action as soon as we learned she was missing, including offering a $ 500 reward, paying for flyers, and posting in online pet-finding websites, which send alerts to local shelters and veterinarians.” the company said, “Our team is also conducting a thorough investigation and we have suspended the sitter’s account while the search continues. “We have also fully refunded Winnie’s family, and we’re in active communication with them as we work to offer support and bring Winnie home.”
Luckily for the Ford family, this story has an incredibly happy ending. Just a few days after her disappearance, Winnie was returned, safe and sound. Winnie was found due to the efforts of the dedicated team at Rover. They are currently launching a full investigation into the incident.
“There truly aren’t words to express my gratitude to all of you who worked so hard to bring Winnie home,” Ford said.
Regardless of the specifics surrounding this case, we could not be happier for Winnie’s safe and speedy return. We also sincerely hope that the sitter in question is brought to justice and that pet parents everywhere will never have to experience a similar scare.
Featured Image: Instagram