Puppy stolen from UCSF Children's Hospital leukemia patient returned

5, 2006
Phyllis Brown

Chemo, the puppy stolen from the family car of 8-year-old UCSF Children's Hospital leukemia patient Kyle Wetle on Saturday, has been recovered, UCSF police officials said Tuesday.

“This afternoon, Chemo the puppy was delivered to the Koret Family House, and he appears to be unharmed and healthy,” Police Captain Torin Fischer said.

Fischer said that the puppy will be reunited with Kyle as soon as possible.

“We are just ecstatic, we just can’t be happier. This just means so much to our family. Kyle is going to be ecstatic,” said his mother, Katrina Wetle.

Fischer said that at approximately 12 noon today, Tuesday, police officers were notified that the dog, a 15-week-old black-and-tan Chihuahua, had been delivered to the Koret Family House on 10th Ave. Kyle’s parents, Katrina and Jerry Wetle, of Monterey, have been residing at Koret Family House during their son’s hospital stay.

Police arrived at Family House to find a man holding a small black-and-tan Chihuahua, Fischer said. Fischer said that strong evidence suggests that the dog is Chemo, but the police are waiting for the family to make a positive identification. Because the case still is under investigation, Fischer declined to release any further details about the circumstances surrounding the surrender of the dog.

Fischer said that the Wetle family has been notified that Chemo has been returned. “We’ve talked to the mother and we’re going to hold onto the dog until she can get here,” he said.

Chemo was reported stolen from the front seat of the Wetle family car at around 5 p.m. on Saturday, September 2, when it was parked on the “D” Level of the UCSF parking garage on the campus on Parnassus Heights.

The puppy was a gift to Kyle from his parents to fulfill one of his wishes. Katrina Wetle said that Kyle was told of the dog’s disappearance for the first time last night. She said that, while he was sad about the loss, he felt encouraged by the media attention surrounding the incident and was hopeful that his puppy would be returned. “He just knew he was going to get his puppy back,” Wetle said.

Chemo is not the only dog that Kyle has lost, his mother said. She said that the family had obtained two German Shepherd dogs from a rescue organization for Kyle. One died and one had to be put to sleep recently. “When it rains, it pours,” she said.

Kyle suffers from acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a potentially fatal form of cancer. Kyle was diagnosed with the condition five years ago. He had been awaiting a donor for a bone marrow transplant and a match was found approximately three weeks ago. “We were told that the chances of finding a match were one million-to-one,” his mother said.

Kyle is an in-patient at UCSF Children’s Hospital, undergoing a round of chemotherapy to eliminate the cancerous cells before he can undergo a bone marrow transplant. The round of chemotherapy is taking place in order to attempt to get Kyle back into remission so that he can qualify for the transplant. If he does not go back into remission he will not qualify for the transplant. The potential donor match is being held until September 10.

Further information about Kyle Jackson Wetle’s condition is posted on a special website at

Anyone wishing to contact the UCSF Police Department with information about this case is encouraged to contact the UCSF Police Department at (415) 760-5867.

One of the nation’s top children’s hospitals, UCSF Children’s Hospital creates a healing environment where children and their families find compassionate care at the edge of scientific discovery, with more than 150 experts in 50 medical specialties serving patients throughout Northern California and beyond.

UCSF is a leading university that consistently defines health care worldwide by conducting advanced biomedical research, educating graduate students in the health professions and life sciences, and providing complex patient care.

This news release has been modified for the website