Mambo, happy owner reunited | AspenTimes.com
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Mambo, happy owner reunited

Jeremy Heiman

An Aspen dog story came to a happy ending Thursday when a puppy, missing for a week, was returned to its owner.

Police, however, are looking for the woman who apparently kept 2-month-old Mambo for a week without notifying the pup’s owner.

Mambo disappeared from the back of his master’s pickup truck the evening of Feb. 17. The puppy was dropped off at the the Aspen Animal Shelter, at the Airport Business Center, on Feb. 24.

The pup was quickly reunited with his happy owner, who gave part of the reward money he had offered to the shelter, but the story may not be quite over yet. Aspen police would like to speak with the woman who apparently took Mambo from his owner’s truck, reportedly fearing the pup was cold.

It’s not clear whether the woman is guilty of theft or simply bad judgment. But Mambo’s owner, Javier Gonzalez-Bringas, is ecstatic to have his puppy back.

“I’m the happiest guy in the world,” Gonzalez-Bringas said. “It was like somebody stole my kid.”

Gonzalez-Bringas said he left Mambo in the back of his pickup truck, parked at Glory Hole Park. The pickup was covered with a camper shell and Mambo had a dog bed inside on which to curl up and snooze, he said.

Gonzalez-Bringas went to work at the Aspen Club Lodge, where he is food and beverage director and executive chef. When he went out to check on Mambo two hours later, he said, the puppy was gone.

Upset by the puppy’s disappearance, Gonzalez-Bringas advertised in local papers and on the radio. He papered the town with handbills and offered a $500 reward for the dog’s return.

He also filed a complaint with the Aspen Police Department, thinking the pooch might have been stolen.

The puppy, a drahthaar, or wire-haired German pointer, was a pricey pet, Gonzalez-Bringas said. But he declined to say exactly how much he paid. A young puppy of that breed could be mistaken for a more common German shorthaired pointer, Gonzalez-Bringas said, but will grow longer, wiry hair as it ages.

Shelter manager Seth Sachson said it was about 2 p.m. Thursday when he got a call from a woman who told him she had just put the lost puppy in the holding pen behind the shelter. He ran out the door with his mobile phone, hoping to see someone driving away, talking on a cellular phone.

But instead, he saw Mambo. “I walked into the street and the puppy went racing by, trailing its leash,” he said. The pup came to him easily when he called.

Still on the telephone, Sachson asked the woman, who refused to identify herself, where she got the dog. She said she had taken the puppy out of a pickup truck because he was cold, and she thought it was cruel to leave him there.

In his opinion, Sachson said, Mambo was just fine in the truck, and didn’t need to be rescued. He said he told the woman that taking the dog as she did was essentially stealing. He tried to trace the call, but found only that the number belongs to a fax machine which was not operating.

Sachson speculates the woman may have returned the dog the way she did because she got scared when she saw the fliers with Mambo’s picture.

“I wish she could have been more open about it,” he said. But he went on to point out that, though she could have, she didn’t try to collect the $500 reward that Gonzalez-Bringas offered.

Within half an hour, Mambo was back with his owner, Sachson said. Gonzalez-Bringas offered the whole reward to the shelter, but Sachson declined. In the end, Gonzalez-Bringas gave the shelter $300, having spent about $200 on advertising.

The shelter will use the funds to help pay for the spaying and neutering of homeless animals, Sachson said.


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