“He Is My Baby.” Thrift Store Rallies To Help Homeless Man Find His Lost Service Dog.

man crouched next to brown dog in thrift store

New Year’s Eve should be a time of celebration, but for Jimmy Nicholos, the start of 2021 was especially rough.

Jimmy is a homeless man in California who works part-time at Start Rescue Resale Store. This in-person, online luxury thrift store donates part of its proceeds to S.T.A.R.T. Rescue, a nonprofit that saves animals from high-kill shelters. As the owner of a service dog, this mission is particularly close to Jimmy’s heart.

One day while he was working, Jimmy was approached by a woman he had met once before. She had offered to groom his dog, Boots, and was back on New Year’s Eve 2020 to extend that same offer. Since she did a great job the first time, Jimmy didn’t think twice about letting Boots go with her.

After a while, though, Jimmy knew something was wrong. The next time he spoke to her, she claimed that Boots ran away when she took him to the park.

Absolutely devastated, Jimmy did everything he could to get his furry friend back as soon as possible. But he wasn’t alone: The other employees at Start Rescue Resale Store were also finding ways to help. In fact, they collectively offered a $10,000 reward for Boots’ return, which was funded by the public and the store’s owner.

“The START team sent out hundreds of flyers, hired a private investigator, had an attorney file a lawsuit, and worked 24 hours a day to find Boots,” Jimmy said.

As time went on, Jimmy was provided with ways to spread the word about his lost pup, including a moment to speak at a press conference.

“He is my baby. I got two kids I never got to raise and when that happened, he was the only thing that kept me sane,” he said. “He never asked for nothing only a little love. I am at a loss for words.”

After about two weeks with no leads, Jimmy was approached by a local TV station to talk with them about his situation. Mere minutes after it aired, someone called to let them know they had his dog.

Soon after, Jimmy headed to the Van Nuy police station to be reunited with Boots. As hard as it may have been to believe, he was finally back with his best friend!

So many people were involved in getting Boots back where he belongs, and Jimmy said that without them, this wouldn’t have happened.

We’re so thankful for everyone who had a part in helping Jimmy and Boots’ story have a happy ending!

Share this story to celebrate their beautiful friendship.

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