Tommy Linn was already at work Saturday morning when he got the text he'd been hoping for: a picture of his missing dog, Cody, and the words, "He's home."
"I had to call (my daughter)," Linn, 53, said later Saturday. "It didn't sink in."
Linn's daughter explained that she heard a scratching sound at the front door of their Ash Street home about 7:30 a.m. and opened it to find the family's 5-year-old Pomeranian, missing since he was stolen from the family's Beaufort neighborhood Wednesday morning.
There was no sign of the person who returned the dog, though Linn thinks it was the same woman a neighbor spotted driving away with Cody after promising she would bring him to a shelter.
The animal never turned up at local shelters or veterinary offices. On Friday afternoon, a Battery Creek veterinarian gave Linn's contact information to a female caller who asked whether anyone had reported a missing Pomeranian. The woman, who did not give her name, didn't call the Linns.
Hoping the woman frequented his Cherry Hill Estates neighborhood, Linn posted a sign Friday evening: "You called the vet. Call the family."
He thinks the plea worked.
After a long day of work at Island Management on Hilton Head Island, he said he was ecstatic to see the dog Saturday evening.
"I'm beside myself," Linn said. "I can't even describe how I feel. It's like the sun went away and now it's back."