(WSVN) - When one South Florida man’s guide dog went missing, he lost more than a pet; he lost his lifeline, but with some digital detective work, this doggone case was cracked. Karen Hensel has the happy reunion in today’s 7 Spotlight.
Ansel Davis: “He’s like a part of my family. He’s my son. I call him my son because I don’t have kids.”
Everett is not a coffee drinker, but the 7-year-old black lab still sits by his dad each morning at this Dunkin Donuts in Plantation.
Ansel Davis: “I’ve known the manager here for a long time. She’s very good to me. The staff is very good to me.”
Davis was born with retinitis pigmentosa, a group of rare eye diseases that causes vision loss.
Ansel Davis: “I see like maybe shadows, lights. I see shapes, I see colors. I don’t let my blindness take nothing away from me. I go like everybody each day. As long as I have my service dog.”
Everett is Davis’ eyes, guide and companion. They travel everywhere together.
Ansel Davis: “He’s the biggest part of my life, and having this dog for me is the biggest thing ever. I couldn’t do without everett.”
But for a brief and terrifying time in February, Davis was on his own.
Ansel Davis: “Oh, my God, the dog is gone. What am I going to do?”
Davis had left the door open after a walk, and Everett, uncharacteristically, took off.
Ansel Davis: “At that time I was destroyed. I was crying, I was nervous.”
He called 911.
Sgt. Dale Graziose, Lauderhill Police: “I heard a call come over my police radio that somebody’s service dog had escaped their house.”
Graziose was just starting his shift.
Sgt. Dale Graziose: “Maybe a couple of minutes later, I saw my Ring app that a neighbor in the general vicinity of where the service dog had escaped, the house posted that they found a dog.”
They posted a picture and included a phone number, so Graziose was able to make contact with the family.
Sgt. Dale Graziose: “Told me they had this black lab at their house. He was hanging in the backyard with a couple other dogs.”
Turns out, Everett had became an unexpected guest at a surprise birthday party.
Ansel Davis: “Oh, my God, it was just like somebody gave me $20 million. I was so happy.”
Lauderhill officer Bryan Pugh and Davis’ longtime friend, retired officer Debbie Banner, picked Everett up and brought him back to Davis.
Ansel Davis: “When they brought him to my house I was released. It was like a pressure off my brain. Those officers need to be thanked and given an award or something because, I tell you, they saved my life that day.”
Sgt. Dale Graziose: “It just makes you feel good.”
Everett was only gone about an hour, but for Davis, it felt like an eternity.
Sgt. Graziose said things could have turned out much differently if not for the quick thinking neighbors.
Sgt. Dale Graziose: “If they would have never posted it, we would have never been able to tie two and two together, and I have no idea how long it would have taken if we would have been able to reunite Mr. Davis with his service dog.”
A Lauderhill Police major described tools like the Ring neighbor’s app as a kind of crime watch for the digital age. And in this case, it was technology, police and neighbors working together to quickly bring Everett back home.
Karen Hensel, 7News.
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