When a woman stole his dog, this man didn't press charges. Instead, he's paying for her drug rehab

Brayden Morton and Darla.

(CNN)Drug addiction sabotaged Brayden Morton for five years. During that span, he attempted to get clean of fentanyl 16 times before he was successful.

So, when he found the person who stole his beloved dog, Darla, and discovered she was addicted to fentanyl, he knew what to do: pay for her rehab and help save her life.
In June, Morton was working in his home office in Cranbrook, British Columbia, while Darla, a 3-year-old Chinese shar-pei, lounged on the deck, soaking up the sun.
    As he worked, Morton heard a loud noise followed by the sound of his gate being opened.
      "I look out the window and I don't see Darla anymore. I ran down the stairs and out to the deck, Darla was gone, and I saw a blue Ford truck back out and speed off," Morton, 35, told CNN.
      Darla had been stolen.
      When Darla was stolen, Morton's life stopped, he says -- nothing mattered but finding her.
      "I didn't think I'd ever get her back or that I would see her again," he said, holding back tears. "I thought she would end up being in a fighting ring or something worse. I thought she was gone for good."

        "I knew in my heart this person had Darla"

        Morton called the police immediately after Darla disappeared. They advised him to start a search on social media.
        He wrote a Facebook post, offering a $5,000 reward for anyone who would help bring Darla home. He received thousands of tips. Most, he says, were empty promises and attempts to get the reward money.
        But then he got a tip he hoped would be real.
        A woman said she had seen the same truck, an older model blue Ford, parked in the lot of an auto shop with a dog inside.
        "So, I drove there and saw the truck and, long story short, Darla wasn't there," Morton said. "I was very worked up and being accusatory towards the gentleman who was in the vehicle. At the time I was sure it was him, so I wasn't being kind."
        But a day later Morton received a call from a blocked number.
        "I picked it up and all I heard was what sounded like a young lady crying," he said. "I knew in my heart this person had Darla. I told her I wasn't mad at her... and that I would grab the reward money and come to her."
        Morton called the police. Despite their attempts to accompany him to the meeting spot, Morton decided to go see the person alone so she wouldn't get scared and try to run away.
        When he got there, the first thing he saw was Darla.
        Morton's two dogs, Darla and Louis.
        "The moment I saw her I just ran to her and picked her up. It felt almost too good to be true," Morton said. "She was so happy to see me. We were so happy to see each other."
        But then, as he looked at the young woman who had taken his dog, he says he recognized an old version of himself in her eyes.
        "She was very evidently hooked on drugs," he said. "I gave her a hug and she said, 'Why would you hug a piece of s**t like me?'"
        Morton told her: "I was addicted to drugs for years. I know what you're on. I know what you're doing. I completely forgive you."
        Instead of giving her the reward money, for fear she would spend it on drugs, Morton asked whether he could pay for her to go to rehab.
        She said yes and the pair hugged, crying together.
        Royal Canadian Mounted Police spokesperson Sgt. Chris Manseau confirmed the story to CNN.
        "They had a conversation and he got the dog back. There was talk of a reward," Manseau said. "The owner did not want to file charges against the person who returned the dog. That person tried to implicate other people. However, we could not make that determination."

        His own battle with drugs

        After growing up in R