FREEPORT, ILLINOIS — If you had told Donna Thompson of Freeport, Illinois just before she left for work in Westchester, Illinois yesterday morning that a Loves Park, Illinois plumber would be the family hero that day, she probably would have thought you’d lost your mind.
After all, when Donna left Freeport on Wednesday for work in Westchester her teenage daughter, and their three dogs, were all safe and sound right where they were supposed to be. At school and at home.
And Donna doesn’t even know any plumbers in Loves Park.
Dogs however, are not exactly as unsophisticated as we would sometimes like to think they are and often have very creative ways of “getting loose”, as many dog owners have experienced.
Some dig under the fence, others jump over the fence while others, just let themselves out right through the front door. Even dogs who may not have a habit of wanting to break free, sometimes do.
That morning, while Donna was at work three hours away and her daughter Shar was at school, Shadow, Zaney and Lucy (the family pets) all decided they’d like to hit the town and not tell anyone about it. While certainly all the ingredients of a bad situation, the newly found furry trio didn’t plan on the pay it forward plumber, and part time dog whisperer, Mark Coffman to be in the area. Turns out, neither did Donna Thompson.
“As I was working in Westchester I had no idea what happened until I got a call from Mark telling me he had Shadow and Zaney.”
Donna doesn’t know Mark though.
Mark Coffman of Design Plumbing and Piping of Loves Park was doing work in Freeport when he noticed the loose dogs. He called Donna off the tags and advised her he had found her animals, and made arrangements with Donna to take the dogs back home.
“He was kind enough to put them back in my house and make sure the door was locked”, Donna told us. But then, Mark went over and above just doing a simple good deed for the day.
“Then this kind man, whom I have never met before, then searched the neighborhood and found Lucy”, Donna went on to tell us of the events that transpired.
Turns out, Mark not only found and recovered two of Donna’s three lost dogs, and made sure they made it home safe, he went back out and scoured the neighborhood until he found Donna’s third dog Lucy, because Donna was out of town and couldn’t do anything about it herself.
Donna told us he even waited in Freeport, with Lucy, for over an hour until Donna’s daughter got out of school, just so Donna didn’t have to call the pound, and so someone would be home with the pets safely.
“My daughter had the police come when he was giving her the 3rd dog and he told the police everything. He was even later concerned and kept in contact with me… to make sure everything was ok and that no one broke in.”
“My husband passed away 2 days before Christmas so it is just Shar, myself and our 3 girls”, Donna told us.
She says she offered to pay Mark, take him and his significant other out to dinner and even offered to buy him a fishing pole or bowling ball, (two of her husbands favorite things before he passed away) and he turned everything down.
“He asked only that I pay it forward.”
As for how the dogs got out, Donna says her German Shepherd opened the door by scratching the wood and handle to get the front door open.
“Granted”, Donna says, “it was my own dog that unlocked the door and got out but he truly was a concerned individual and made sure we were taken care of and that my animals, daughter and house were ok.”
“There aren’t a lot of honest and good people out there as much as we hope there are”, she added.
“It is a blessing to know there are people out there willing to go above and beyond, so again thank you Mark for bringing my girls home!”