Nashua woman is reunited with dog

NASHUA – When Amarylis Martinez drove from her Nashua home to Methuen to confront a possible criminal, she was not afraid. The only thing on her mind was getting her dog, Nikko, back home after someone stole him from her car late Sunday.

Nikko is a 25-pound male Shih Tzu mix who is 11 years old. Martinez said Nikko has been with her since he was a mere nine weeks old.

Upon seeing that Nikko was gone, Martinez was frantic.

She called the police, posted photos on her own Facebook page, alerted local groups and news outlets.

Within two days, Nikko’s photo, and soon a photo of the dognapper, had been posted hundreds of times.

As the time wore on, Martinez began to fear the worst. She kicked herself for leaving her car unlocked as she ran into the pharmacy from the parking lot. This was the time the dognapper used to take Nikko.

“I was worried sick,” she said, her mind considering all the possibilities, each one worse than the last.

He could have been taken as a bait dog for dog fighting; he could have been sold; he could have been simply let loose on the street.

She just wanted him home.

Finally, Tuesday, Martinez received a call from someone who recognized the man police were searching for and gave her his address. She wasted no time before heading over there.

“All I wanted to do was find my dog,” she said. “I figured nobody was going to care as much as I do,” she added, explaining why she didn’t call the police first.

When she reached the address, a woman who identified herself as the man’s mother answered the door and said there was no dog there.

But when Martinez went out back to look for clues, she saw the woman leaving from a separate entrance with Nikko in her arms. She backpedaled and claimed she had seen some kids playing with him.

“I took him and got in my car and waited for the cops to get there,” Martinez said.

When Methuen police arrived on scene, they had several arrest warrants for Steve O’Neil, 38, for multiple alleged crimes, including shoplifting, gun/drug possession, probation violation and breaking and entering, according to an Associated Press report.

O’Neil allegedly barricaded himself inside his home and was found by police hiding “in a piece of furniture.” He was arrested and expected to be arraigned Wednesday.

As for Martinez, she said she will absolutely be pressing charges and is looking forward to “making him pay” for stealing her beloved pet.

Nikko is home now and doing well, although he seems “a little off,” as if he was coming from a darker place – a basement or a closed room – she suspects.

“It’s the best feeling in the world,” Martinez said of having Nikko home. “When I saw him, it was like the sky was opening up right in front of me … I’m so happy.”

Hannah LaClaire can be reached at 594-1243 or