Lucy the golden retriever is inseparable from her family — but she recently went on a road trip with them, and that changed. 

The Mathias family was on their way back to Fort Worth when they decided to stop for a bite to eat. They were in New Caney area — just outside of Houston — and stopped at a local restaurant. They tied Lucy's leash to a tree in the shade, expecting her to be safe.

Moments later, their worst nightmare unfolded. A woman untied Lucy, dragged her to a truck and drove away. The family was devastated.

The woman was caught on surveillance footage, and CBS Houston affiliate KHOU-TVobtained a copy of that video. Reporter Matt Dougherty was determined to help.

 

KHOU-TV looked up the woman's license plate number, found her address and went to her house — which was filled with dogs. Dougherty confronted a man at the door, who told him the dogs belonged to his cousin.

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KHOU obtained surveillance footage showing a woman stealing Lucy from a restaurant parking lot.KHOU-TV

After speaking with adults at the house, a little boy emerged at the front door — with Lucy.

"We thought it was abandoned," the boy told Dougherty. The reporter informed the family that Lucy's owners were looking for her, and they gave up the dog. KHOU-TV caught the whole exchange on video — including a happy Lucy jumping into Dougherty's arms.

Now that Dougherty found Lucy, he rushed to find the Mathias family and tell them the good news. He found their phone number and called them on FaceTime, with Lucy nearby.

"Well, I don't want to bury the lead. I'll go ahead and let you know we've got somebody in the back seat with us," Dougherty told Andrew Mathias, Lucy's owner. He turned the camera phone on the dog.

"What?! Oh, my God. Where'd you get her?" Mathias said, in shock. Now, Lucy is staying with relatives in the Houston area until they can get her home. Dougherty handed the pup over with Constable Bill Cunningham as his witness, for safety.