Teacher gets ‘curve ball’ as owner of stuffed hippo comes forward

WILLOUGHBY, Ohio — When the owner of a stuffed animal contacted Petar Luketina about the toy he found and posted on Facebook, it was not what he expected.

Luketina, a student teacher, found the stuffed animal in downtown Willoughby on Sunday morning while going to get a cup of coffee.

He placed it on top of a snow pile hoping the rightful owner would return.

Four hours later, the animal was still there, so Luketina took the stuffed hippo home, washed it, and posted about it on Facebook.

The post was shared nearly 6,000 times before the owner contacted Luketina.

“I was hoping to see the eyes of [a] little boy or girl light up as I reunited a little tyke with their stuffed animal, but [it] looks like the world threw me — and everyone else — a curve ball!” Luketina wrote on Facebook late Monday.

“Kate Wearsch, 22 yrs. old, sent me a picture of the little guy in her bedroom,” Luketina wrote.

Wearsch told Luketina she had the stuffed animal for two years of being in and out of hospitals.

She named him “Poe,” she explained, because it sounds like “hippo.”

She said when she rolled down her car window, she didn’t know the stuffed animal fell out.

She shared the story Fox 8 News posted on Facebook and wrote that “he’s being returned tomorrow.”

In a separate post she thanked Luketina for finding her hippo. “I’m so excited to have my cuddle animal back because I’m 22 and I love my stuffed hippo.”

She also posted a video of herself watching Fox 8 News and yelling “This is my baby. I need him back,” at the TV.