Talk about almost having a heart attack! If anyone of our readers is a pet lover, you will certainly understand the trauma that a family goes through when their pet is stolen from them. This is what happened to me and my family a couple of weeks ago.
Our adorable 4 lb. Yorkie, was stolen from us out of a shopping cart in a super market parking lot. He is our baby and goes everywhere with us in a soft red pet carrier that looks very much like a designer handbag. He is a special needs dog and we need to keep an eye on him often. It was one of those moments in life where your heart stops for a few, when you turn around and find your baby gone. He was just there a second ago…so where did he go? His carrying case had been taken from the cart in a flash. We didn’t see anyone even approaching us. It was like he just disappeared. A feeling of panic set in when he found him missing. You don’t know which way to turn. We drove up and down every street, asked everyone we saw if they had seen him. We looked in dumpsters, asked store owners, residents, everyone and anyone, but no one had seen him.
When we rescued Fritz 5 years earlier, he came to us with no tags, no chip and obviously no name. He was found abandoned on the side of a road, straggly- haired, suffering from malnutrition, and obviously no name, no chip, no ID tags. We had no idea what his name was. The friend of mine who found him, did all of the search and rescue possible to find his owner, but to no avail. After a week, our friend brought him to our home, letting me know that he was looking for a loving home for the cute little guy. One look at those puppy eyes – it was love at first sight. We had to give him a name and upon one look at his precious little face, the name that just popped into my head was “Snickel Fritz,”. I let him know that he found the right home – that we would treat him like a prince and decided to call him “Lord Snickel Fritz.” I don’t know why, but it seemed appropriate. It was a unanimous family vote – to nickname him Fritz for short.
Our wonderful Monty, a beautiful half-mix, golden retriever and chow, whom we rescued years earlier, cautiously walked toward Fritz and sat down in front of him. Snickel Fritz warmed his way over to Monty and sat down in front of his big paws. Monty looked down at him, gave him a few good sniffs, a lick on his head, and the deal was done. For the both of them, it was brotherly love at first sight. Everywhere that Monty went, the little one would follow. They became inseparable from the minute they met. Monty was like the big protective brother that the baby really needed. He and Monty hung out and went everywhere together. We took Fritz to the vet to have his shots and to get him a chip and ID tags, noting his new name and phone number. Shortly after, we found out that Fritz had a liver shunt that could be treated with medication twice daily. The alternative would be a very costly and dangerous surgery with no guarantee that Fritz would live through it. We opted to give him the necessary medication twice daily which has proven to be a prudent decision, because he has been doing great for over 5 years.
Less than 2 months after getting Fritz, Monty was diagnosed with bone cancer and the doctors did not give him much time to live. Monty was the love of our lives. We had rescued him from a hit and run driver who left him on the side of the road to die. Monty spent 12 wonderful years with us, showing us his gratitude. He was the dog of a lifetime…loyal, loving, friendly to everyone and truly the neighborhood goodwill ambassador. Everyone loved Monty.
In the summer, we would have him trimmed in a lion-cut, and he did indeed, resembled a lion. When the day came to say goodbye to our wonderful Monty, our hearts broke. It was the hardest, most difficult day of our lives to mercifully let him go in peace. When we returned home from the vet, the house was so different. There was a major void and everyone could feel the loss of a member of our family who was no longer there. Fritz went into depression. He looked all over for Monty. He moped for days, wouldn’t eat…would hardly want to even leave his little bed. Monty’s absence was definitely a void in all of our lives. Losing a pet sucks. It hurts so bad! It’s almost like Monty knew he was going to die and wanted Fritz to fill the void…so Monty went to work and trained Fritz well. Taught him all of his tricks and habits and Fritz loved and adopted them all. Having Fritz was a life-saver because there was always a little Monty in him to keep his spirit alive.
So you can imagine how devastated we were, when just 3 weeks ago, when out of the blue, Fritz was gone. He had just vanished. We knew that whoever took him, did not know he was special needs and would die if he didn’t get his medication twice a day. This called for immediate team effort on everyone’s part. We called Pet Amber Alert (which is a wonderful wonderful service). They did so much to help and posted our info immediately to surrounding businesses and veterinarians to alert them of the chip that Fritz had and of his medical condition. The service was really worth the investment. We made huge signs and had over 500 color fliers made with Fritz’ photo which included the info that he was a special needs dog and if he didn’t get his medicine – he would die.
My dear friends posted on Craig’s List and Facebook. All of my friends were on alert and were full speed ahead to help pass out fliers and make calls. We offered a reward on all of the posters, fliers and Amber Alert, that no questions would be asked. Then we waited…and waited…and waited. Everything in the world races through your mind: Where could Fritz be? Who had him? Were they caring for him? Was he sick? How much longer could he live without his medication? Oh, you have no idea the torment of not knowing. Two days and nights passed and no call. It was the longest two days of our lives. Every time the phone rang, we were on edge, hoping and praying that it was the person who had Fritz. On the fliers, we stated, “no questions asked” we just wanted him back…and sure enough… at 9:55 pm, the phone rang and it was a man who told me he had Fritz. I immediately make arrangements to meet him with the reward money, and as promised, no questions were asked.
We still do not know what, how or why Fritz was taken – but I wasn’t going to stay on the phone and cross examine. All I wanted to do is get out the door as fast as possible and pick up our baby. When we got Fritz home, he was pretty docile and weak. After administering his medication and trying to get him to eat, he gradually perked up. The good news is, Fritz is home and now, doing well.
I personally recommend that if you have a pet – to get them a chip and make sure the have current ID tags and not a phone number that has been discontinued or no longer in service. As long as your pet has a chip and the veterinarians are alerted when they are missing, there is a good chance you will get your pet back home if they get separated from you for whatever reason. There is no guarantee if someone steals your pet that even proper ID will get your baby returned – but with good and current ID info – it gives you have the best shot that your pet will be found.