Kidnap, ransom and rescue, Part 3

-- By Alabama Living Magazine

Editor’s note: Parts 1 and 2 of the pet vet column ran in the March and May issues. They described the author’s adoption of his family’s new puppy, Anandi, and her abduction. Her captors demanded a ransom for her return.

Anandi with a favorite toy.

We were about 10 miles from town and did not have that much cash on us. There was no time to go back to the town, so we called a friend who lived nearby. They loved Anandi and had a puppy of similar age. We briefly told them what was happening. They were stunned but volunteered to accompany us in this crazy rescue mission.

After several destination changes over the phone and feeling like contestants in “The Amazing Race,” we met at a closed convenience store. There was a dim mercury light in the parking lot. The captors pulled up in an SUV. Trench Coat Lurch got out of the car along with a stocky young guy and the young lady we had met earlier. (This was the woman who had originally denied knowing anything, but when she thought Anandi might be sick and contagious, she admitted her daughter had the dog.)

But there was no Anandi.

I asked her, “Do you have our dog?’’ A little girl then got off the back seat and Anandi was hanging from her arms. She had Anandi grasped around the chest and the rest of her body was dangling, like a stuffed doll. This made us very uneasy, but we decided to ignore the situation and keep talking to the adults.

The young woman asked us a very peculiar question. “You are not going to do experiments on this puppy?” I was shocked but said of course not. The negotiations began, and we promised the young woman to pay for any medical bills if her daughter caught Anandi’s cough as she tried to write our phone number on the top of a plastic soda lid.

Trench Coat angrily paced, rifle peeking from his coat, raging “just get the
money!” Anandi was exchanged for a wad of bills like a movie scene and we moved quickly towards our van. Trench Coat grumbled, “You could have been shot!” Then his last words as we accelerated out of the parking lot were, “Hey, how did you find us?” We did not slow down.

I remember the moments of driving home like it was yesterday. It was pitch black outside, Anandi was in the middle seat, almost unresponsive. It took us a long time to come down from the high anxiety and tension, but we were flooded with great peace. She recovered completely from her ordeal and we never heard back from the folks – I guess they lost their soda lid!

Anandi is now 8 years old, sleeping deeply under a blanket on our bed as I write this.

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