A man from Melbourne was nine years old when he suffered a brain tumour prompting him to undergo several surgeries to remove it.
When he turned 21, the damage of the surgeries changed his life forever, permanently removing his eyesight.
Since then, Mr Toogood has gotten through life with the help of his family, but most of all his loving sister Lisa who has guided him through the darkness.
When his sister isn’t around, Mr Toogood relies on his best friend, a cavoodle named Sam who keeps him company with unconditional love.
“So, Matt and Sam have spent the last five years together, he doesn’t leave Matt’s side whenever he’s home, he follows him around, inside, outside, so yeah, they’re the best companions to each other,” Lisa told A Current Affair.
Mr Toogood and Sam were separated for months after Mr Toogood broke his ankle and was hospitalised to undergo rehabilitation.
During his time in hospital, Sam was given to another family to be looked after.
But, once Mr Toogood went home after hospital, the new owners of Sam refused to give him back.
“I love my dog, and I’d love him to come back,” Mr Toogood said.
Lisa approached the family to ask for Sam back but they threatened legal action telling her, “we could drag this out, it’s going to cost whoever a fortune, I know all the court systems are backed up for six to 12 months because of COVID.”
Lisa had to regretfully break the news to Mr Toogood, telling him Sam wouldn’t be able to come home because the family denied he was the rightful owner, despite Sam’s microchip being registered in his name.
“To have him ring me at night, every day and say ‘I miss my dog, where is he? Why would someone do this to me? He was always by my side?’ It’s just not fair, and it’s really hard,” Lisa said.
Mr Toogood and Lisa decided to ask Anne-Marie’s help, a pet detective and founder of Arthur & Co, who tracked Sam down and negotiated with the family for his release.
Richard, who is a private investigator and worked for Anne-Marie, went inside the family’s house to retrieve Sam.
After 15 minutes of negotiation, Richard emerged from the house holding Sam, ready to give him back to Mr Toogood.
“My heart is bursting with happiness,” Lisa said after seeing Sam in Richard’s arms.
Richard and Lisa took Sam to the local vet who gave him the all clear and double checked his microchip, which confirmed Mr Toogood as his owner.
As Mr Toogood sat on his couch in Melbourne, Richard walked in with Sam in his arms and dropped the delighted dog onto his lap.
“Are you going to sleep better tonight, now?” Lisa asked Mr Toogood.
“Yes,” Mr Toogood replied as Sam jumped up and licked his nose.
This article originally appeared on Over60.