‘Lucky', a Pekingese, had been missing for two weeks after he was taken from outside a Spar in Oberlaaer Straße in Vienna's Favoriten district.
A witness had told his owner - 51-year-old Milena Schmalhardt - that they had seen a woman pick him up and put him in a car while Schmalhardt was doing her shopping.
“When I left the shop half an hour later, he was gone,” she said.
But after the distressed owner reported him missing and put out an appeal online, she was amazed to get a response from the kidnapper herself, asking for a reward for returning the mutt.
The story is a real-life version of the film Seven Pyschopaths, in which an out-of-work actor played by Sam Rockwell makes a living by kidnapping dogs and collecting the reward when he returns them.
“She asked for a reward! Because she thought she had saved the dog, and watched out for him and fed him,” said Schmalhardt.
After the owner protested, however, the woman dropped her request for the reward and just handed over the dog.
“Lucky is still a bit confused but we are happy that he is back. The last few days were hell,” his relieved owner said.