Nathan sparked a huge citywide manhunt last week when he reported his dog to be stolen and while the pooch has since been found, it’s not the ending the man had hoped for.
Nathan, who sleeps rough on the streets of Sydney, was willing to offer what little money he had to help find his beloved dog, Shagy.
The homeless man said he had been caring for the dog since Christmas last year after finding her in a dumpster in Surry Hills, Sydney.
Nathan took her to a vet and was told he could keep her. Since then he has nursed Shagy back to health and the pair have become inseparable.
However, on Sunday, August 30, about 2pm Shagy was allegedly stolen from the spot outside Hungry Jack’s in Circular Quay, where the pair sleep together.
Nathan had only gone to the toilet for two and a half minutes, before returning to find his dog missing.
His desperate plea to find Shagy was eventually heard online after thousands of people shared a post from Sydney pet detective Anne-Marie, who put out a call out on Facebook asking anyone with information to “please help”.
Four days later Shagy was found in Petersham and taken to Sydney University vet where they had recognised him as being the dog reportedly stolen from Nathan.
However, a NSW Police spokesperson confirmed to news.com.au that after vets checks, they had discovered the dog was, in fact, called Dee Dee and “had been reported stolen from a home in Waterloo seven months ago”.
Anne-Marie, who is the founder of Arthur & Co. Pet Concierge, said while Nathan was happy to see Shagy reunited with her original owners, he was still distraught as he struggled to come to terms with losing his “best friend”.
“Shagy was one of the only things he had in this world, she was his family, purpose, reason he kept going,” the pet detective told news.com.au.
“No one could have possibly fathomed there would be another set of owners and that she had been stolen from them, especially since Nathan had taken her to a vet and there was no stolen flag on her chip — otherwise the vet would have responded differently.
“Nathan has done nothing wrong and police have confirmed that twice — there is CCTV footage of the offender who stole Dee Dee from her owners and that is absolutely, categorically, not Nathan.”
Anne-Marie said she hoped after reading this, the original owners came forward and contacted her to allow Nathan to say goodbye, thank him for saving their dog’s life and provide him with the closure he needed to move forward.
“It’s not the ending we were all hoping for,” she said.
“We were all so committed to seeing Nathan and Shagy reunited. However it is not to be and ultimately at least we know Shagy/Dee Dee is alive and well and back with her first family who police say are happy to have her back,” the pet detective said.
A GoFundMe page has since been setup to support Nathan’s journey out of homelessness and buy him a new dog with just over $5000 raised so far.
Anne-Marie said that neither she, nor Nathan, expected the story to make headlines around the world from Russia, to France and even Egypt, let alone to get people digging deep to help Nathan move on.
“Nathan said it has made him feel visible for the first time in his life,” Anne-Marie told news.com.au
“We want to thank everyone in this amazing community for your generosity of spirit and support for Shagy and Nathan,” she said, giving a specific shout out to The Rocks Police Station for their “quick response and ensuring Dee Dee was safe and well”.