Vienna resident Norma Whittaker has her dog Pepper to thank for tracking down her stolen bicycle.
Whittaker says a coworker was borrowing her mountain bike several weeks ago when it was stolen outside their workplace.
"My only rule was do not leave it outside ever [but my] co-worker rode the bike to work and locked it outside," Whittaker wrote in an email. "It was stolen by the end of his shift."
When her coworker called police, they told her they needed the serial number for the bicycle -- something Whittaker hadn't recorded or even thought about before the incident.
Luckily, Whittaker says, she originally purchased the bike from about four years ago; the shop keeps customer receipts that include bike serial numbers.
But she couldn't get to the shop for several days because of a packed schedule, so filing the serial number was put on hold.
It was later that week Pepper, a two-year-old border collie/black lab mix dog from the humane society, came to the rescue.
Whittaker had picked Pepper up from daycare and was taking him for a walk when he dragged her off to a remote area in the woods near her house.
“Pepper doesn’t normally roam off during a potty break. This time he seemed almost determined to go off path,” Whittaker said.
In a clearing, there was a lone bike rack.
“He went right to my bike," Whittaker said.
After going to Spokes to verify the serial number and taking the documents to the police, they verified the bike was in fact Whittaker's. The police took the bike to station for fingerprints and returned it to Whittaker.
Whittaker says she'd encourage all residents to keep their serial numbers on file with the , or, with the bike shop where they purchased the bike.
"[Pepper] deserves some recognition," Whittaker wrote. "[It was a] happy ending."