Woman reunites man and lost bulldog after car stolen from Buckhead business

Credit: Trey Specht

Credit: Trey Specht

For two long days, Trey Specht spent all of his waking hours canvassing Atlanta in search of his lost dog. And considering he barely slept, that search went on at nearly all hours.

After his car was stolen late last month from a Buckhead business with his English bulldog still inside, Specht was distraught. All he cared about was reuniting with Ronnie.

“I laid down to sleep a few times and I’d just sit there and think about it and I was like, ‘God, I can’t give up right now,’” Specht told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I didn’t want to look back and there have been any rock unturned.”

Specht and Ronnie are inseparable. He takes his dog everywhere he goes, except for the golf course — but that’s only because he hasn’t quite figured out how to keep Ronnie from jumping out of the cart.

On Jan. 30, Specht went to grab takeout and stopped at a CVS on Peachtree Road at about 10 p.m. Naturally, he took Ronnie with him.

He said he left the dog inside the running car and quickly went into the store, making sure all of the doors were locked. Less than five minutes later, Specht left the store. His vehicle was nowhere in sight.

At first, he thought he might have parked somewhere else and just forgotten. But then he pulled out his phone and tracked his car. It was cruising toward Joseph E. Boone Boulevard, where it eventually stopped about 11 miles from the CVS, Specht said.

“There was my car and a gray Chrysler 300 doing doughnuts,” he said, describing what police found at the scene. “There was a group of younger guys taking videos of them doing doughnuts in my car.”

Specht said that when officers arrived, the driver took off. The vehicle eventually crashed into a utility pole near an apartment complex on Anderson Avenue, Specht said. No arrests have been made in the theft.

But Ronnie was gone.

Driving home to the apartment complex the next morning, resident Betty Wilson said she noticed the crashed vehicle and a stray dog nearby. As it turned out, Ronnie had not wandered far from his owner’s car.

Wilson said she was scared of the dog at first and uncertain of how he would act. But she knew he belonged to someone, so she named him “Big Boy” and called him into her car.

At the same time, Specht was putting up lost dog flyers across the city and online. While he walked the streets, his friends and family members called animal shelters and rescues. He was desperate to reconnect with his best friend.

At Wilson’s home, Ronnie and a 1-year-old Chihuahua had gotten over their differences and had been playing. Wilson said Ronnie didn’t eat at all and barely slept, but when he did, he was curled up near her.

It was when Wilson was watching the news Feb. 1 that a picture of an English bulldog just like her “Big Boy” popped up on the screen.

“I didn’t see any posters. So I was looking at the news and I said, ‘This is the dog right here,’” she recounted saying.

Credit: Trey Specht

Credit: Trey Specht

Specht, who was still busy getting the word out about Ronnie, suddenly noticed he had multiple missed calls from the same number. They were from Wilson, who immediately gave Specht her address.

As Specht and a few of his friends pulled into the apartment complex that evening, he said it was like Ronnie already knew he was coming home.

“He does this little thing where he bends down to the ground and he shakes his butt and wiggles when he’s really excited, and it was to the max,” he said with a laugh.

Wilson had fallen in love with Ronnie and said she would have kept him if she didn’t find Specht. She was grateful she was able to help them find each other. “When Ronnie seen him, he was so happy ... your pet is part of your family.”

Specht had offered a cash reward during the search. He said he couldn’t have been happier that it went to someone like Wilson, who said she will be using it to pay her bills.

“I don’t know her situation, but it felt like it went to a good place,” he said.

Since catching up on several days worth of sleep, Specht has been working on taking down the countless flyers. Though he continues to take Ronnie with him when given the opportunity, he said he will either take him inside all businesses or leave him at home in the future.

“I never want to go through that again. I got lucky,” he said. “I don’t want to see what happens if something like that were to ever happen again. I don’t think I’d have the same luck twice in a row.”