1010 WINS — A lost toy is back home with its family thanks to one determined mother and the power of social media.
Katie Hoeppner discovered a stuffed animal left behind at a rest stop bathroom in Iowa and knew that his owner would be missing his fuzzy friend.
“As a mom, I know exactly what it’s like to have a child who’s frantic when they lose their Stuffy,” she wrote on Facebook.
So she named him “George” and brought him along with her.
“I decided to rescue him because I hated to think that he might get thrown away if somebody else picked him up,” Hoeppner told 1010 WINS.
The mom of two embarked on a mission to track down George’s rightful owner. She documented their adventures together, posting all the photos on Facebook in an effort to find his family.
George drove her car, played tunes for the ride, cuddled up with her teen son while watching football, ran errands to Michaels and Starbucks, went for a ride in the car wash, and snuggled in with her 9-year-old daughter.
He joined the Hoeppner family for their Sunday, which included church, cheering, lunch, slime making, building a fort and making dinner.
“I was very hopeful that we would find the owner, but knew it was a long shot,” Hoeppner said.
Well, it worked.
After more than 54,000 shares, the toy’s 4-year-old owner’s preschool teacher came across the post and recognized George, whose real name is Pup Pup.
The teacher contacted Hoeppner who took one last photo with George before boxing him up and shipping him home for a big reunion.
“I got one last snuggle in with George today before he started making his way back home. We talked about our adventures, and how he has a lot to tell his little human,” Hoeppner wrote. “He gave me a hug, thanked me for finding him, and thanked me for helping him find his way HOME!”