Last week, Kerrin Lanahan was riding a BART commuter train home after an SPCA Bark and Whine Ball fundraiser at Fort Mason in San Francisco. It had been a long day, and she dozed off, like many people do on BART — a ride on BART can be devilishly soothing.
Unfortunately, BART also has thieves, and when Lanahan woke up, she realized that one of them had taken one of her bags.
“If only they had taken the purse,” she told SFGate.
For in the other bag, the bag that the thief made off with, was Archie, a 1-year-old Pomeranian — and certified service dog — dressed in a tuxedo.
Lanahan said she “woke up and started screaming.”
Lanahan suffers from anxiety, and Archie helps her cope. She’s particularly affected by traveling (like one does on BART) after surviving a plane crash as a child.
Lanahan told SFGate that Archie is trained to keep her calm, and he’s “really calm in public in general. When we’re out, it’s all about me and him. He goes everywhere with me. When my anxiety level spikes, he knows to jump into my lap.”
Lanahan spent “the next five days plastering the city with flyers and chasing down leads,” according to SFGate, and she even hunted through homeless “hang-outs” and shelters after receiving a tip that Archie was seen with a homeless person. A reward ballooned to more than $3,000. BART police, meanwhile, checked surveillance footage and tried to find witnesses.
“This is a very important dog to his owners, not just in companionship — he’s a service animal,” said Deputy Chief Ben Fairow. “She really needs him back.”
Fortunately, she has him back. On Monday, Lanahan received a anonymous text that her Archie was at a home near the Balboa Park BART station. Authorities checked it out, and Animal Care and Control went over with a microchip scanner. It was Archie. He was fine.
Appropriately, Lanahan was reunited with the dog at the BART police facility in the Powell Street Station.
“I was sobbing and happy and just completely overwhelmed,” she said. “I just hugged him all the way home.”