Lost Manhattan Beach Dog Returned After 5 YearsAug 25, 2023 08:54AM ● By Jeanne Fratello
Manhattan Beach resident Brian Withers holds his dog Luke, with whom he was reunited after five years. Photo via Brian Withers.
When Brian Withers' little dog Luke went missing five years ago this summer, Withers - and the Manhattan Beach community - went all-out in search of the dog.
Luke, a white Maltese mix, had last been seen at 13th and Highland near Uncle Bill's Pancake House and Ocean View Café in July 2018 when he disappeared.
(A photo of Luke from five years ago before he disappeared. Photo via Brian Withers)
As MB News reported at the time, Withers, a local dentist, offered a $2,000 reward for his return, and the community rallied to join the search. Volunteers pounded the pavement, scoured nearby shelters for Luke sightings, and distributed flyers around town and to stores, dog parks, and veterinarians' offices in surrounding cities.
But Luke hadn't been found - until just this week. And now, after being rescued by a family of Good Samaritans in Watts, he's back in his own bed after five long years.
"I know so so many people spent hours of their own time helping me and I couldn't be happier to let people know that this story has a happy ending," said Withers. "I want to thank each and every person who helped, some I'm sure without me ever knowing."
Dog Was Found By Good Samaritans
Withers was in a yoga class on Wednesday when he suddenly began receiving calls, texts, and emails from the chip company Avid, alerting Withers that Luke's microchip had been run, and that he was found.
"My phone started going nuts during a yoga class, and I was so nervous my yoga instructor drove me right in the middle of the class," Withers told MB News.
Luke had been found in Watts, where he had apparently been abandoned by whomever had taken him or bought him. He had lost at least part of his vision and was probably becoming a burden, Withers said. At that point, a family found him and took him in.
"All I know is he was with a lovely family who had found him abandoned by their garbage cans three weeks ago. He was blind in one eye, needed a flea bath and more than a few good meals. They took him in, fed him, bathed him, loved him, and took him to the vet where his microchip was scanned," said Withers.
(The moment that Withers saw Luke for the first time.)
"These people were angels," Withers continued. "They would not accept anything - money, free dentistry, they were just good people. Found him by their trash cans, and based on the shape he’s in now he must have been really bad when they found him. Breaks my heart, my little buddy had a rough time away."
(Photo via Brian Withers)
Luke is now resting safely at home and will visit the vet again to check if there are any more issues.
"When he was taken from me, I prayed and prayed that he’d come back to me no matter how long and no matter what had happened to him, and those prayers were answered," wrote Withers in a message to neighbors on NextDoor who had followed the saga. "I am beyond blessed to have this little guy back with me."
Withers continued: "To all those that helped me five years ago, and those that would take in a little malnourished old dog who was blind like that family in Watts did, remember that YOU are what's holding this world together. As long as the good guys keep doing what they do, kindness and love are what wins, always."
When asked if he wanted the story shared on MB News, Withers agreed. "I think we could all use more good news," he said.