Companion dog reunited with disabled Army veteran 2 days after being taken from Burnsville grocery store

Updated: June 25, 2019 10:49 PM

Everyone involved had the best intentions.

Army veteran Steven Berendt's mom gave him a companion dog as a gift and a form of furry, four-legged therapy. 


Berendt, who is disabled and depends on a wheelchair, took the 8-month-old puppy named Henry with him to the nearby grocery store Sunday afternoon.  Because the market had a no-pet policy, he secured Henry to a pillar outside while he shopped inside.

 "I got outside and it was like somebody kicked me in the head," Berendt said. "He was gone."

Footage from a surveillance camera in the parking lot of the Cub at Nicollet Avenue and Highway 13 in Burnsville captured a white SUV pull up to the store. The footage then showed a female get out of the passenger seat, and within minutes, she was seen on camera holding the leash and walking off with Henry.

"Our hope would be someone would recognize her clothing, her or the vehicle, and we would be able to get Henry returned," Burnsville Police Captain Matt Smith said.

Berendt said through tears at his apartment, "It's awful. It's just been the most horrible thing I've had to go through."

For two long days, Berendt wondered where Henry was, if he was okay and if he would his sidekick again.  

Tuesday brought an unexpected development.  The woman who took Henry contacted the grocery store manager, who then contacted police. Sgt. Chris Wicklund met up with the manager and Henry was handed off to him for the trip back to Berendt's place.

Berendt broke down in tears of joy as Wicklund walked into the apartment building holding Henry, who started whimpering and wiggling when he spotted his person

"My heart is definitely restored to know there are decent people on earth," Berendt said. "I'm glad she did what she did, thinking about the welfare of a dog. That was the kind thing to do. I don't think in her heart there was anything mischievous."

The woman passed along a note explaining that she thought the dog had been abandoned. Police said the woman will not be in any trouble. 

As for Berendt, he intends to have Henry chipped as soon as possible. 

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Beth McDonough

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company


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