Alyssa Sanderford may be a pretty petite woman, but this triathlon champ is being hailed as a hero after rescuing a stolen dog from a thief.

The 34-year-old first saw the dog in a lost poster on Facebook that was shared by a friend. The dog’s owners, Angela and Sterling Ream, were distraught after their chocolate Labrador Chesapeake mix named Wiley had been stolen from the Trader Joe’s ‘doggie dock’ – an outpost outside the store that can be used to restrain pets on leashes while customers shop.

Angela had only been inside the store for a few minutes when she returned to find her beloved pup had disappeared. Wiley wasn’t the kind of canine to run away, so she guessed that he had been stolen.

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The day after Alyssa saw the lost poster on Facebook, she was driving through Dallas, Texas when she saw a lab that looked a lot like Wiley being walked by a clean-cut man in his 20s. She noticed that the dog was wearing an orange collar just like the one in the Facebook post.

The determined driver parked her car, and – after confirming that it was indeed Wiley – confronted the man.

“I probably didn’t do the smartest thing. I just walked up to him and said, ‘That dog’s stolen. You need to give it back.’” Alyssa told the Dallas Observer. “He was like, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about.’ I said, ‘You took that dog last night at Trader Joe’s. Give me the leash.’”

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When she tried to take the leash out of his hand, he jerked it away and started to run. Alyssa gave chase even though she had to take off her flip flops and dash barefoot across the concrete.

Throughout the 35 minute chase, Alyssa drew help from passerby, including two Goodwill workers and a couple in an SUV. She called the police just before the pursuit eventually ceased thanks to one of the workers who used his own car to corner the dog thief. By the time the cops arrived, she had also called the Reams to report that she had found Wiley.

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When Angela arrived on the scene. Wiley became overwhelmed with excitement, licking her owner’s face and jumping for joy.

“I don’t even know this girl, and she risked so much to bring our dog home to us. It’s an unbelievable story. It sounds a little silly, but it restores your faith in humanity. For the one bad guy who had her, there were so many people who reached out and cared.”

Click To Share This Pawesome Story With Your FriendsPhoto by Jim Schutz

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