DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) - A former homeless man and his beloved service dog are together again after the dog ran away earlier this month. The Dubuque Humane Society and friends at the Dubuque Rescue Mission helped reunite the pair. And they're making sure the two don't get separated again.
Up until just a few weeks ago Curt Curiel and his service dog, Sassy, lived at the Dubuque Rescue Mission. He says the staff at the Rescue Mission took care of them. So when his beloved Sassy went missing, he turned to his friends at the mission for some help. Little did he know, he would also get help from a group of total strangers.
They say dogs have a certain intuition about their owners. Curiel has Multiple Sclerosis and Epilepsy. He says Sassy anticipates every move he makes.
"Right before I am getting ready to have a seizure she'll start whining and crying," he said.
Curiel recently fell on to some hard times. His wife was placed in a nursing home and he became homeless. So when his companion vanished from a bus stop, Curiel was devastated.
"I had all the bus drivers out looking for him. And I figured if they couldn't find them, no one could," he said.
But someone did. A Good Samaritan found Sassy and took her to the Dubuque Humane Society.
Meanwhile, Curiel's friends at the Rescue Mission posted information on Facebook about the missing dog. That post was shared more than 300 times.
The Dubuque Regional Humane Society staff saw the post and made the connection.
"Because it was a city stray, there was an impound fee as well as a care fee and a vaccination fee. We also gave Sassy a microchip in case she's ever lost again," Maria Benham with the humane society said.
After learning of Curiel's circumstances, the staff pooled their money to cover all the costs and brought Sassy and him back together.
"For lack of a better word, it was amazing," Curiel said.
"Knowing that Curt and Sassy are back together is just a great ‘home for the holidays’ story," Benham said.
While Curiel still visits the Rescue Mission, he and Sassy recently found a place of their own to call home on Dubuque's north end. Now the only thing he really wants is for his wife to come home for Christmas.