ARTESIA, N.M. (KRQE) – The New Mexico man who offered a hefty reward for his stolen dog was reunited with him Thursday after a three-week search—a moment he thought might never happen.
“You ready to go home?” Buddy DeLong exclaimed after seeing Jack again for the first time.
After three long weeks, DeLong finally got to hug and kiss his best friend of 13 years.
Last month, a thief stole DeLong’s truck from a restaurant parking lot in Artesia with Jack still inside.
“I’m excited, numb. It’s just…I never thought this day would come,” said DeLong.
In his search for Jack, DeLong turned to social media, offering a reward. First $1,000, then he upped it to $10,000.
Tips poured in from all over.
“The attention got so much that really everyone was watching, and I’m just eternally grateful to everybody,” said DeLong. “Seems like he’s everyone’s dog now.”
Wednesday, he got a tip his truck was at an Allsup’s in Artesia.
“We looked at the license plate number and the guy was holding a burrito and his phone,” DeLong said.
DeLong and his son then took matters into their own hands, detaining 41-year-old Jamie Enriquez until deputies arrived.
“My son got out, made sure that I was covered, and I pulled him out of the truck and put him on the ground, and waited for law enforcement to show up,” he said.
They discovered Jack was in Albuquerque with Enriquez’s girlfriend.
A State Police officer brought him down Thursday for the emotional reunion.
“Thank you so much,” DeLong told the State Police officer.
“I’m glad we could get him back to you,” he replied.
After weeks of searching day and night, DeLong says he’ll finally be able to get some sleep.
“I wish he could talk because I’d like to hear the story,” said DeLong. “We’re going to go get him a burrito and a prompt bath.”
DeLong says the thief told him Jack was up in Albuquerque after he pulled him out of the pickup, though it’s not clear why he was there.
Enriquez is behind bars, charged with stealing the truck.