MANSFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) – A Central Illinois man has been reunited with his dog after she was stolen and found a week later several states away.

“Everybody was praying for her,” John Hannah said about his dog, Tess.

Hannah says his village’s prayers were answered. Friends and neighbors held a welcome home party for Tess the Goldendoodle Sunday afternoon. The Mansfield community celebrated with a meet and greet fish fry at the American Legion – the same place John Hannah’s car was stolen with Tess in the backseat.

Hannah’s story reached people across Illinois and even Tennessee, where his car turned up totaled the day after it was stolen. After driving to Nashville to look for Tess, he eventually got a call that she was found in Greenville, Alabama with the suspect. Hannah says the suspect was originally stopped by police for walking down the interstate, and that he later admitted to stealing the car.

“He said he kept her because she was good and he was afraid just to drop her anywhere because she just needed to be with somebody and he didn’t want her to get hurt,” Hannah said.

Hannah immediately packed up and headed to Alabama when he got the call. Now, he says he’s just glad to have Tess home and the suspect off the street. Hannah wants to remind pet owners to get their animals microchipped, and he has plans for an awareness campaign in the future.