VAN NUYS, Calif. - A homeless man was reunited with his service dog Monday night after the dog was allegedly stolen by a woman who promised to bathe the dog then claimed she lost him.
James Michael Nicholos works part-time at Start Rescue Resale Store, where he was approached by a woman on New Year's Eve who offered to groom his best friend 'Boots'.
Nicholos said the woman had groomed his dog once before so he took her up on her offer, but alleged that she never returned Boots to him.
He told FOX 11 that he got a call from the woman later that day claiming she took the dog to the park and he ran away.
At the time, a heartbroken Nicholos told FOX 11, "He is my baby. I got two kids. I never got to raise and when that happened he was the only thing that kept me sane. He never asked for nothing — only a little love. I am at a loss for words."
Nicholos' boss and the owner of the Sherman Oaks thrift shop that funds pet rescue adoptions, said the woman's story was suspicious and didn't make any sense.
The woman had claimed that two men approached her and she ran, losing 'Boots' in the process.
Nicholos sued the woman, identified in the lawsuit as Nicole Lawrence, alleging breach of contract, fraudulent misrepresentation, theft, negligence and both intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
"Boots is my baby and he is my life," Nicholos said in a sworn declaration attached to the suit. "My life has been devoted to Boots for six years. He is well-fed, gets regular veterinary check-ups and is doted on. We have a camp where we live together."
The lawsuit was seeking $100,000 in compensatory damages, unspecified punitive damages and that Lawrence was ordered to return Boots to him.
The woman returned the dog to Nicholos on Monday night after police got involved.
Needless to say, it was a touching moment when the pair was finally reunited.
Additional details were not immediately available.