San Rafael support dog 'Buddy' feared stolen

Arend Dittmer posted dozens of "lost dog" flyers in downtown San Rafael – searching for his dog "Buddy." The 1-year-old Cavapoo was allegedly stolen outside of Bank of America on Fourth Street Friday afternoon. 

"He’s just a very lovable dog. He’s very active. He’s very friendly. He’s very smart. And it’s just been a pleasure to have him around, and I can’t believe he is gone," said Dittmer. 

This happened around 2:30 p.m. Dittmer said he brought the dog along to run some errands and tied Buddy’s leash to a flagpole outside the bank because dogs are not allowed inside. 

"I figured it was ok to take him outside because it was really busy. There were lots of people," said Dittmer. "When I was in the lineup I could see him through the windows, so I checked on him and saw he was ok. And then the line moved forward, and I disappeared behind a wall and I didn’t have visibility to check on him anymore."


When Dittmer exited the bank, Buddy was gone. 

"I was in disbelief, to be honest at first. I just thought I didn’t see right," he said. 

Dittmer started searching and asking people in the area if they saw anything. Witnesses told him they saw two women playing with Buddy before taking him away on his leash. 

Buddy is more than a family pet. He is a therapy dog in training for the nonprofit "Opening the World" where he is known as "Head of Puplick Relations." The nonprofit works with at-risk teens and young adults who have been exposed to trauma. Buddy provides valuable support. 

"He spends a lot of time in the office of the nonprofit program called Opening the World and kids just love him. And it’s also a great icebreaker when you have new kids enter the program. So it’s not just a loss for us as a family but also a loss for the community I would say," said Dittmer. 

A police report has been filed. Buddy’s owners are offering a reward for his safe return.