Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Dog returned to 'speechless' Chicago panhandler

For two weeks, Tom Finley was in a daze, holding fliers with a photo of his friend and asking passersby in the Loop if they had seen a blond husky/terrier mix with a limp.

"It was hard to sleep," he said. "Hard to eat."

On Saturday, the well-known panhandler received a gift no amount of loose change could replace when he was reunited with Reba, who had been missing since Finley, 69, left the 12-year-old dog outside a McDonald's at South Franklin Street and West Jackson Boulevard on Sept. 7.

"I'm speechless," Finley said during a press conference at the Anti-Cruelty Society of Chicago, where Reba strained on the leash and barked at photographers.

Since Reba disappeared, Finley had received an outpouring of support from the public. Office workers printed up fliers of the missing dog and a woman gave Finley a prepaid cell phone to field calls in the search. He said he received "hundreds" of calls from people claiming to have seen Reba.

"Some would call and say they'd spotted her or they had her," he said. "Sometimes I thought I heard her myself."

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