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Buttercup and Yogi, the tiny pooches who were dognapped Wednesday when their owners' car was stolen from a Gary, Ind., filling station, are back home in Glen Park.
"This was my Christmas blessing. My babies are home," said Marquia Johnson, who picked the dogs up at the home of a good Samaritan who found the pair sitting next to her car about two blocks from where the car was stolen.
Johnson's husband, Lester, said he left the dogs inside his silver 2006 Ford Taurus when he went inside to pay for gas at a station at 4500 Broadway in Gary. He left the motor running so Buttercup, a Maltese-poodle mix, and Yogi, a shih tzu, could have the heat on. As he walked out of the station, he saw someone driving off in the car, with Buttercup and Yogi inside.
After searching for the dogs on the frigid streets until 3 a.m. Friday, the Johnsons returned home distraught. Meanwhile, about an hour after the car theft, a woman said the dogs seemed to be waiting for her as she walked up to her car in the 4300 block of Massachusetts in Gary.
"It was so cold out that night. We're so lucky they found the right people," said Marquia, who figures the car thieves pushed the docile mini-breeds out of the car soon after they pulled out from the gas station.
The woman who found the dogs called the number for the veterinarian's office on their dog tags Friday morning and got the Johnson's phone number.
The woman read a newspaper story about the missing dogs in the Post-Tribune shortly before Marquia arrived at the house.
"I didn't even get her real name," Marquia said. "I gave her a little reward. We don't have a lot of money, but we had to give her something."
The Johnsons have gotten numerous calls from Post-Tribune readers who thought they had seen the dogs and some offering sympathy or just asking if the dogs had made it home.
"There are still some good people, some caring people, in the world," Marquia Johnson said. "I sure hope I find my car next."