Stolen service dog back with owner in Illinois

U.S. & World

HARVEY, Illinois (CNN) — Man’s best friend is back with the man who loves him.

An Illinois resident has his guide dog, Lucca, back.

The owner thinks some teens took the dog from his back yard. When they heard how much the loss hurt the owner, one of them had a change of heart.

“I’m so glad to have my guide dog back, my friend and my eyes,” said Lucca’s owner, Kevin Coachman with a laugh.

Coachman is keeping Lucca a little closer just hours after the safe return of the purebred German Shepherd who was stolen three days ago.

“He feels great!” Coachman said. “He, he’s, he was very hungry and thirsty. He drank a whole pail of water, so I know he was kinda thirsty.”

Coachman had been praying for Lucca to come home.

Coachman, who became completely blind a few years ago after he was shot multiple times during a carjacking, was paired with Lucca last year.

Saturday morning, the 58-year-old’s prayers were answered when he got a phone call from a neighborhood teen who said his friends had taken Lucca, and he knew it was wrong.

“I was sitting right here, and he walked up and gave it to me and told me his name and told me what he was doing,” Coachman said.

On Tuesday, thieves had taken Lucca from the back yard of his south suburban Harvey home.

“This is Lucca,” Coachman said. “Yeah, this my boy. He’s a good boy.”

Since word of Lucca’s return, there’s been a steady stream of well wishers and support.

“When I heard him say, you know, to please return his dog or at least to be good to the dog because he’s a good dog, it made me cry,” said neighbor Gineen O’Neil.

“I’m so proud he got his dog back because I like the dog, too!” added neighbor Joe Bays.

And while the ordeal may have left some bitter, Coachman said Lucca’s return has renewed his faith in the goodness of people.

Kevin Coachman/Owner: “When you do right, right will prevail,” he said.

The Seeing Eye Foundation, located on the east coast, is responsible for pairing Lucca with Coachman.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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