When Mark and Lisa Campillo woke up Thursday morning at the 202 Motor Inn, they were only days away from capping off an exhausting moving trip from Chicago to Anchorage.
That’s when they noticed that someone had stolen their dog.
Thieves had broken into the back of the couple’s moving truck and stolen George, their black Labrador.
Lisa was in tears when she ran into court clerk Susan Kulin outside the territorial courthouse.
Within minutes, Kulin alerted postal workers, maintenance crews and the entire Department of Justice.
“People just kept passing it on,” said Kulin.
Whitehorse bylaw services would keep looking for George after the couple had left the city, they said.
If George turned up, they even offered to send an officer halfway to Anchorage to hand him off.
The chef from Coaster’s Bistro personally invited the couple for a free meal.
The 202 Motor Inn gave the couple a $100 gift certificate.
Parking meter attendants approached the couple to ask for more detailed descriptions of the dog.
“Everybody’s been wonderful; everybody’s been trying to help,” said Mark.
“If you had this situation (in Chicago), they wouldn’t give you the time of day,” he said.
“Garbage guys, mail carriers; everyone was looking for him,” said Lisa.
Finally, the Campillos got the name and address of someone who might know something about the dog’s disappearance from a Coaster’s bouncer.
Patrick Zuccarini had celebrated his 24th birthday the night before at Coaster’s Bar and Grill.
“I woke up and then there was this dog around here,” said Zuccarini, speaking from his Whitehorse home.
“I’m not the kind of person to steal someone’s dog.”
Address in hand, the Campillos immediately drove to the house.
The authorities would be alerted later.
“Get the dog first, and then call the cops,” said Mark, explaining his philosophy.
Coaster’s employees had already called Zuccarini to let him know that the couple was on their way.
When they arrived, the dog had been set loose.
Zuccarini told the couple that George had been “running around all day, we found him running around,” said Mark.
“I said, ‘Bullshit,’” he said.
“I think what happened is he got scared; if the dog’s not at his house, how can you prove he had it?” said Mark.
When they finally tracked down the loose dog, it didn’t have a collar.
“Then I said, ‘Well, where’s his collar?’ and he said, ‘Oh, he never had a collar,’” said Mark.
The two exchanged some “words.”
“Then he went into the house, came out with the collar and said, ‘Oh sorry, man, I was really drunk last night,” said Mark.
“But that’s no excuse; that’s bullshit.”
George had been in a kennel located in the enclosed bed of a flatbed truck.
The person who took the dog would have needed to remove the truck’s tailgate and push aside a kennel containing Zoe, the couple’s high-strung Jack Russell terrier.
“He knew what he was doing … you don’t go through all these motions and not know what you’re doing,” said Mark.
“You can’t go through that if you’re that drunk,” said Lisa.
Zuccarini said he had “no idea” why the collar had been removed.
If the high-strung Zoe had been in the same kennel with George, “they probably wouldn’t have touched George,” said Lisa.
The dognapping was just the latest hassle in an eventful trip from Chicago.
The couple’s truck broke down twice, and they ended up shelling out $5,000 for engine repairs.
“We’ve had a hell of a trip,” said Mark.
Contact Tristin Hopper at