The owners of Paws and Wags Kennel are celebrating the return of four puppies stolen last week.
Barbara and Lee Higgins went to breakfast Saturday morning in Salisbury.
When they got home, Lee Higgins went to the kennel to check on the dogs. He then walked around to the front of the house, where he spotted a cardboard box on the porch.
When he opened the box, the yelps and jumps for joy announced, “We’re home.”
Inside were the four Shih Tzu puppies someone stole from the kennel earlier in the week. Two other puppies were also taken.
Barbara Higgins said the puppies were happy to see the couple and they were delighted to have them back.
“It’s fantastic. We didn’t expect to see them again,” she said Saturday afternoon.
“They were wet; the box was soaked,” she said. “We got them out and dried them.”
The smallest puppy appears to be a little sick, she said, possibly from exposure to the cold and wet.
Two other puppies, a Maltese and a Chinese pug were still missing Saturday. They were taken from the kennel along with the four Shih Tzu puppies on Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.
Barbara Higgins and her husband had planned to spend the weekend checking out flea markets and other places where someone might try to sell the puppies.
“We wish we had gotten the other two back,” she said. She added that whoever stole them “probably got a little scared with all the publicity. They decided to bring four back and keep the others for pets.”
She was unsure when the puppies were returned, saying it could have been during the night or early morning Saturday.
The six purebred puppies are valued at nearly $3,000.
During 14 years of operating the kennel, on U.S. 29 across from the Foxy Lady, the couple has had only one other theft, a small puppy taken just before Christmas several years ago.
Anyone with information about the theft can call the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office at 704-216-8700.