SACO, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - A dog breeder from Saco is giving back as a way to heal from a heartbreaking event.

It was just more than a year ago when someone snatched one of Doreen Metcalf’s German Sherpherds. It was found 30 miles away running loose in traffic, when it was struck and killed by a car.

“Yeah, it hurts to lose that dog, it really does”, Metrcalf said.

The thought of someone ever stealing one of her dogs never crossed Metcalf’s mind.

“Never imagined it. Never something I was worried about”, she said.

But that’s exactly what happened last November when she was out with several of her dogs for exercise. 5-year old Uhdelle wandered off, but Metcalf wasn’t too concerned because the Shepherd had a GPS tracking collar. The collar was found a couple miles away near the Saco River, but Uhdelle was nowhere to be seen. The next day she was struck and killed by a car, 30-miles away in the town of Gray.

“That’s a family member to me, you know. I’m sure no one ever wants to lose a child in a violent way and that’s what it feels like”, Metcalf said.

In memory of Uhdelle, Doreen set out to find someone who works to make our lives safer so she could present them with their own dog. After receiving more than 60 letters, messages and emails from veterans and first responders, she found the perfect one.

“I’ve had 8 years active duty and I’ve been in the Air National Guard 2 years now”, said Brendan Westin.

On Thanksgiving, Westin learned he would be welcoming the puppy Lucca to his family, joining him, his wife, two children and a 1 year old Shepherd named Ranger.

“We’re going to provide the best possible life we can for this little puppy. Give it lots of love, lots of adventure, all the exercise she can handle, a little training, just to honor Uhdelle”, he said.

In exchange Westin expects the pup will provide great comfort for his family, especially when he is away from home serving his country. That’s all Doreen Metcalf needed to hear.

“Hopefully make that family just a little bit happier and show them a big thank you for what they do”, she said.

More than a year later, the case of Uhdelle is still an open police investigation. Doreen is convinced that someday, the person responsible will be brought to justice.