Max Is Back! Good Samaritan Returns Dog Stolen on Christmas Eve
"Justin told me from the very beginning after Max was missing that he knew his little dog was coming back," Alioto tells PEOPLEPets.com of the Dachshund and German shepherd mix who joined their family in November. "He told my wife and I that we should never give up hope."
As Alioto, 41, was hanging blinds Tuesday night in his Baltimore home, he got an email around 6:30 p.m. from a resident a few blocks away who had seen Max's story on the news and thought that she knew someone who got a puppy a few days before Christmas that fit his description. But she wasn't certain it was him.
"She asked if we could meet so that I could verify it was Max, and I agreed," Alioto tells PEOPLEPets.com. "I was hopeful and excited but started to tell myself that it probably wasn't him and that I shouldn't get my hopes up."
They met about 45 minutes later and as soon as the fellow Baltimore resident pulled the dog carrier out of the car, Alioto saw Max's distinctive white and brown chest colorings.
"I started nodding my head when she asked if I thought it was him," he continues. "We freed him from the dog carrier and let him run around. At first, he was very skittish, but soon settled back into the house and grabbed his favorite chew toys out of his dog bed, plus my slippers. Within a few seconds, he started playing. I can't begin to express how happy the kids and I are that he's back."
Justin wanted to know if the family had paid a reward to get Max back. When Alioto said no, Justin offered a lovely suggestion.
"My son said he wanted to give her four weeks worth of his allowance, the 20 dollars that he had in his wallet," Alioto says. "It was very sweet."
Police have not charged anyone with stealing the loveable pooch yet. But the entire Alioto family is thrilled to have Max back at home – giving them the best Christmas present ever.
Click here to read more about Max's abduction on Christmas Eve.