CHELSEA — A dog owner whose terrified pup squirmed loose as shots rang out in the Chelsea Home Depot last month was reunited with the dog just a few hours later thanks to a good Samaritan.
Orlando Straughter worried he'd never see his 2-year-old wirehaired fox terrier named Fritz again, after the dog wriggled out of his collar and fled Home Depot's 40 W. 23rd St. location when an employee fatally shot a manager and then himself on Jan. 25.
“I was so nervous and scared for the dog,” said Straughter, an East Harlem resident who had gone to the store to pick up light bulbs. “I didn’t know if he had run into the street or if someone took him. He’s such a friendly, beautiful dog. I remember thinking, ‘I’ll never see him again.’”
Another shopper, 77-year-old Morris Borock, was standing near Home Depot's entrance during the shooting and grabbed Fritz as the pup bolted for the door.
“I was able to capture the dog before it ran out into the street,” said Borock, an Upper East Side resident. “I sat down in front of the building with the dog in my lap, waiting for the owner to perhaps come looking for him.”
Borock said he waited for 45 minutes, and when he didn't see an owner, he took Fritz to the nearby New York Dog Spa and Hotel on West 25th Street to check whether the pup had a microchip that would identify the owner.
The spa didn’t have the tools to check for a chip, but an employee gave Fritz water, a collar and a leash and suggested that Borock take him to Fifth Avenue Veterinary Specialists at 1 W. 15th St. for help.
The vet was able to read the chip and identify the dog's breeder in Ohio, who said the dog was sold to a pet store called Westchester Puppies in Hartsdale, N.Y.
After calling the pet store, Borock was finally able to get Straughter's number and called to tell him that Fritz was safe.
Staughter was at the Petco in Union Square when he received Borock's call and raced over to the vet's office. Straughter and Fritz were reunited about three hours after the dog got loose.
“I just dropped to the ground and started crying,” said Straughter, a senior director at Kenneth Cole. “It was like losing a child. I asked [Borock] if there was anything I could do in return, and he was so gracious and said don’t worry about it.
"New Yorkers get a bad rap with people saying they’re unfriendly, insincere and unkind," Straughter added. "That’s just not true.”