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Dog who helps man with seizures missing after owner’s car was stolen

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WEST VALLEY CITY --  A woman whose car was stolen early Saturday morning is pleading for the return of the dog that was inside, who helps her boyfriend with his seizures.

Natashja Wingelaar and her boyfriend stopped at a Wal-Mart, 3180 South 5600 West, Saturday with their two dogs just before 1 a.m., and when they returned to the parking lot their car was gone and one of the dogs was found wandering the parking lot.

Wingelaar said their dog Lulu was found nearby, but RuPaul, or Rue for short, was not.

“It for me was like coming out and not having my children in the car,” Wingelaar said. “I just hit my knees in prayer because it was unbelievable to me.”

The stolen car has since been recovered, but the dog has not.  Wingelaar said they are hoping for the dog’s return, as it was in training to be a service dog for her boyfriend, who suffers from seizures.

“In the last three years my dog has been able to alert us of six different seizures,” she said.

Lt. Scott White of the Salt Lake City Police Department said the stolen vehicle was recovered early Saturday at a home near 1000 North and Redwood Road.

“One of my officers has noticed stolen vehicles being dropped in that area,” White said. “In today's case, it was actually parked on the front lawn of the residence there.”

The car was at the home, but RuPaul the dog was not. White said they have yet to make contact with the residents at the home where the car was found.

“Certainly tried to make contact with the homeowners to see if they knew why a stolen car was parked on their lawn,” he said. “They didn't answer the door.”

White said at this time the residents of that home are persons of interest in the case. Police officials said that, in addition to Wingelaar’s car, authorities also recovered items from other stolen vehicles.

Wingelaar said she is glad to have her car back, but she said she really just wants her dog found safe and sound. She said Rue was not wearing his usual collar with tags, but he was wearing a collar with a bell on it. Rue also has a microchip, so if he arrives at a shelter he can be identified right away.

Wingelaar is asking anyone who sees her dog to contact her by email at: tashjawingelaar@gmail.com