When a pet goes missing, owners frantically search all Lost & Found websites, bombard social media with pleas for help, and post rewards in the hope that their furry baby will find his way home. Happy ending stories are always the best, but this story has a twist.
Brayden Morton’s Shar-Pei Darla not only disappeared, she was abducted outside her home in Cranston, British Columbia. Her kidnappers put her in a truck and drove off.
Morton immediately posted news of the incident on social media. It was shared more than 30,000 times. A $ 5,000 reward offer followed.
A lot of advice came in, but when Morton got a call from a woman who sounded clearly distressed (he could hear her crying in the background) he knew he had found the dog abductor.
Instead of lashing out, he comforted and reassured the woman. They agreed to meet in the parking lot of a local mall. The woman, still crying, returned Darla to Morton and apologized. She hadn’t acted alone, but she was truly sorry for her role in the crime.
Morton looked at her and had an epiphany. He realized that she was using drugs (he admitted that the whole scheme was a means of raising money to buy drugs) and the reason Morton knew about it was that he himself had been addicted once.
Clean and sober since May 2015, Morton’s personal journey back from addiction began at the Top of the World Ranch Treatment Center. After successfully completing the program there, Morton took a volunteer staff position.
Over time, he went on to become an intervention counselor working in the field. (These days, he runs Find the Right Rehab, a company whose goal is to link addicts with facilities that give them the best possible treatment results.)
Morton had the reward money with him when he went to pick up Darla, but instead of handing it over to the woman, Morton gave her what could turn out to be a life-changing option: if she was willing to undergo rehab treatment. , he would pay for it.
They have been talking about it since that day, and he is waiting to know what she has decided. Even knowing from his own experience that an addict will quit only when he is really ready, Morton is hopeful that he will accept the offer.
But there is more to the story. While Morton was searching for Darla, an informant had given him information about another possible suspect. Morton was able to locate the man, but learned that he was not involved in the dog abduction. However, he was out of luck and had nowhere to live.
As an act of kindness, Morton paid for a week-long hotel stay. From there, thanks to social media, the good deed skyrocketed. Once they found out about his generosity, Morton’s Facebook cronies not only paid off another week’s rent bill, but found him a job.
For a story that started so badly, it continues to unfold in unexpected and encouraging directions. For Morton, reuniting with his beloved dog is truly a blessing, but it’s not the only thing that has taken away the experience.
The road to recovery is long and difficult, and without a safety net, homelessness can happen to almost anyone, sober or not. Having the ability to connect with people who are still struggling like him and being able to make a difference in their lives has given Morton a unique perspective that has made him truly appreciative.
“I would honestly say, more than anything… it was exactly what I needed in my life at the time. Those people helped me immensely. [They] it really warmed my heart and humbled me, “Morton told the Cranbrook Daily Townsman. “I am equally grateful for those two relationships that I made throughout this terrible experience and I am happy to have been able to meet [them]. “
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