Dog taken from outside River North eatery recovered from man’s home in Oshkosh, Wis.

The 17-month-old shepherd mix named Caela was taken Oct. 13 while its owner was inside paying for a food order.

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Caela, a 17-month-old sheperd mix stolen outside Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken, 401 N. State St., on Oct. 13, 2019. Taken from the Facebook page of Kelli Kosikas, general manager of Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken, 401 N. State St.

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A dog taken from outside a River North restaurant last month was reunited with its owner Wednesday after the canine was found 175 miles away in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

The 17-month-old shepherd mix named Caela was taken from outside Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken, 401 N. State St., about 7:20 p.m. Oct. 13 as her owner, James Perry, paid for food inside.

Perry, distraught and tormented by negative thoughts of his dog’s unknown fate, posted security camera images ofthe man who took Caela on flyers around the neighborhood as well as on social media.

The effort paid off.

A Gold Coast property manager reached out to Perry a few days ago to tell him the man in the photo was a tenant who suddenly appeared with a dog around the time Caela went missing. The man said he was having the dog trained as an emotional support dog.

Due to a no-dog policy, the man moved out of the building and returned to Oshkosh, the property manager told Perry.

Perry passed the information on to a Chicago police detective assigned to his case, who contacted Oshkosh police.

On Wednesday, Oshkosh police went to the man’s home and recovered the dog.

“This guy did have the dog, and he told officers that he thought it was abandoned,” Oshkosh Police spokeswoman Kate Mann said. “The owner did not want to press charges.”


Perry, 49, an insurance underwriter who lives in Printer’s Row, drove to Oshkosh Wednesday where he and Caela were reunited.

Emotional video of the encounter was posted to a Facebook page dedicated to the search.

“She’s my family,” Perry said of the dog, which had a microchip and several identifying tags on her collar when she went missing, including one with Perry’s name and contact information.

Perry said he’d heard the man who took his dog was in a tough mental and emotional place in his life. Perry said he has no hard feelings.

“It was literally a guy who needed a friend,” he said. “I’m just happy I have my dog back.”

Caela seems to be healthy and happy, he said, but was also a little like “What was all that about?”

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James Perry with his dog, Caela, at his Printer’s Row home after the dog was missing for three weeks.

James Perry

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