Monday, October 01, 2007
Dog returned to 'speechless' Chicago panhandler By Gerry Smith | Tribune staff reporter September 23, 2007 For two weeks, Tom Finley was in a daze, holding fliers with a photo of his friend and asking passersby in the Loop if they had seen a blond husky/terrier mix with a limp. "It was hard to sleep," he said. "Hard to eat." On Saturday, the well-known panhandler received a gift no amount of loose change could replace when he was reunited with Reba, who had been missing since Finley, 69, left the 12-year-old dog outside a McDonald's at South Franklin Street and West Jackson Boulevard on Sept. 7. "I'm speechless," Finley said during a news conference at the Anti-Cruelty Society of Chicago, where Reba strained on the leash and barked at photographers. Since Reba disappeared, Finley had received an outpouring of support from the public. Office workers printed up fliers of the missing dog and a woman gave Finley a prepaid cell phone to field calls in the search. He said he received "hundreds" of calls from people claiming to have seen Reba. "Some would call and say they'd spotted her or they had her," he said. "Sometimes I thought I heard her myself." Finley believed Reba was taken by someone who thought he couldn't care for her. Officials at the Anti-Cruelty Society would not identify the woman who returned Reba around noon on Friday. "She was in tears," said Nadine Walmsley, an official with the Anti-Cruelty Society. "She just handed us the dog. We honored our part. No questions asked." Whole story here: This story brings tears to my eyes. Here is a panhandler whose plight brought many downtown office workers, executives, TV stations and rescue groups to his aid. I have it on good authority that the person that took Reba thought he/she was doing the right thing. Said person called the cell provided to Tom to tell him Reba was in a "better place." I am so glad that this person had the audacity of character to understand that love/companionship goes far beyond the boundaries of how much you make or what you can provide. I imagine returning Reba was hard, but believe this person did the right thing!