ORLANDO, Fla. – All Creatures Pet Grooming has been in the Milk District of Orlando for 18 years, and its trusty Dalmatian mascot, Dot, has been with it every step of the way.
"She's on all of our business cards, she's painted on the side of the wall and we've even tried to sew her into clothes," said owner Priscilla Brunjes.
Brunjes says she originally bought the Dot the Dalmatian costume as road advertising for her pet grooming business. She says all of her children have worn it on the side of the road, and customers have grown to love it.
"Anytime some kids needed extra money to go to prom or homecoming or for the marching band, they would work the costume," Brunjes added.
The business has had the Dot costume for nearly two decades, and the seams in the beloved costume were beginning to give out. Brunjes said she couldn't part with it, so she put a mannequin inside it, along with some stuffing, so it could sit on a chair outside the pet grooming shop.
"It's part of the family," Brunjes said."She's like one of our pets even though she is not real. She has always been here with us. We have to clean her, or take care of her and sew her back together, and bring her out every day and then bring her back in."
So imagine their heartbreak when on Tuesday, two men stole Dot from outside of the business.
Surveillance video shows one man picking up the costume in the chair and throwing it into the bed of a truck while another man quickly drives away. Dot's head falls into the street, and three minutes later, the two are seen coming back to retrieve it.
"I laughed because of how it looked," Brunjes chuckled. "Who does that? Who takes the dog? Who takes the whole chair? They took everything."
Brunjes is offering a cash reward for anyone who can bring Dot back to her store.
"She has been our mascot for 17 years. We would like her back," she wrote.
"We don't want the chair. If the mannequin isn't there, that's fine too. We just want the costume back on the head. That would be really nice."