This is long, but very worth the read. The writer of this is my Akitas groomer and the founder of Rakki Inu Akita- Akita Rescue here in Va Beach. Please read, you will understand why towards the middle/ end.
When I woke up on Thursday morning, June 21, I noticed right away that Sasha was missing. All the other dogs were home, but she was gone! After inspecting the back yard, I found the small hole she had dug under the fence, and immediately set out to look for her.
After an hour of driving the neighborhood, I decided to go check the local SPCAs and Animal Controls - yes, plural, as I live where three cities meet! I spent the next two hours driving all over the place filing reports and checking kennels to see if she had been picked up. I called Home Again, her microchip company, and reported her missing.
By the end of Thursday, no news. By the end of Friday, no news.
Thunderstorms rolled through the area Friday night and I worried for my girl; she has never liked storms. That's when I started posting on every Facebook page I could think of. Someone MUST have found her and had her in their home... She is a therapy dog and VERY friendly. A great "find" for a less than honest person.
Saturday morning and I had a small army looking for her locally. Thanks especially to Cissei and Antonio for using their connections to Chesapeake Police to increase the eyes looking for her, putting up and handing out flyers, and scouring the cities for her. Another special thanks to Brittany Peiser for calling almost EVERY vet in the area looking for her and filing lost reports, and Jenny and Jim for distributing flyers. I went and distributed lost flyers to all the local Animal Controls and SPCAs early that morning as well.
So I went to a movie Saturday afternoon - had had this special event (Can't Stop the Serenity Big Damn Shindig) planned for several weeks already. Just as the first movie ended and we came to intermission, I noticed my phone was illuminated in my purse (silenced so as not to disturb the other movie goers). I listened to the voicemail from a missed call that came in not 2 minutes before. It was a frantic sounding employee of Norfolk SPCA saying that they may have some info on my missing dog and to call them back immediately.
THE IMPORTANT PART STARTS HERE
I called... put on hold... while on hold, Brittany calls me. I click over to the other line to tell her that I was on the phone with Norfolk SPCA who might have news on Sasha. She tells me that she knows and all about the situation and her recent conversation with them... A guy had come in with a dog that looked like Sasha asking for free dog food for "his" dog. The SPCA staff had my lost dog flyer behind the counter (where the guy could not see it) and recognized Sasha from the photo. He claimed to have owned her for two months already. Norfolk SPCA was stalling him as best they could, but they could not keep him there; he kept saying he had an appointment to get to. They had scanned the dog, but no microchip registered on the scanner.
I got in my car and flew down there - thankfully no more than a 10 minute drive. Of course I hit EVERY slow driver and red light...
I fly into the parking lot and go inside, my stomach all in knots. I look to my left and there is a early 20-something guy sitting there with Sasha! I look at her, I look at him..., "That's MY dog!" I say angrily.
"No ma'am, I'm sorry. Your mistaken. I've had this dog for two months," he says.
I look at her, give her the hand signal to sit, then speak. She responds immediately. Again I looked at him and stated, "THAT'S MY DOG." Again he denied it.
I walked to the counter of the SPCA and pulled out my personalized credit card with her picture on it. Then I pulled out her therapy dog license with her picture on it. I looked at them and said again, "THAT'S MY DOG!" I was starting to cry and quiver with rage and adrenaline.
Again he denied it. At this point the lobby is full of SPCA staff, volunteers, and adopters all watching and all staring at him in disbelief. One of the staff looked at him over the counter. "Really sir...?!"
At this point I crouched down and started talking to Sasha. She began to bounce and howl and try with all her might to reach me. He finally relented and let her off the leash to get to me. I buried my face in her coat and sobbed.
It was at this point that his story completely changed. Now he was claiming that he bought her from some lady in the Sandbridge section of Virginia Beach (on the OTHER side of town!!) for $125 and that he had just had her groomed that morning. It was clear that someone had taken some scissors and given her a dreadful home haircut down the middle of her back like an inverted mohawk, but it was definitely no professional groom! He then proceeded to give me the "name and number" of the lady he bought her from (the number was not in service). Then he wrote down his name and number saying that he was just so thankful that she got back to her owner, and if we ever needed a dog-sitter or a volunteer... (yea, RIGHT!). That he thought the situation seemed weird to begin with. The "lady" had an ad up for Sasha calling her a husky/chow mix and that the "lady" just couldn't care for her anymore.
Heather, a co-worker sent by Brittany to stall the guy, arrives at this time and also positively identifies the dog as Sasha and that she belongs to me.
He hung around a bit more changing his story and trying to make himself into the hero. We played along trying to get him to leave. After he left we tried to scan her for her chip again to see if it had migrated, but still nothing showed up. I will be getting her re-implanted and I will be contacting Home Again with this story!!!
I thanked and hugged the SPCA staff and gave the SPCA an $80 donation (all the cash I had on me).
Later Brittany called the number the guy had left with me and he acutally answered. He then repeated the story to her (he was on speaker so I could hear him), but the story had MORE twists. Suddenly he had gotten Sasha with his girlfriend and had actually just gone along while she looked at the dog. He said the guy they had "bought" her from (previously it was a woman named Michelle) seemed weird and that he had actually taken Sasha to the Norfolk SPCA to see if she was missing or stolen. That he was happy to wait while the SPCA tried to contact the actual owner. Finally Brittany became so frustrated with his BS that she told him there was a special place in hell for him and hung up on him!
So Sasha is home with her bad home hack-job of a haircut, but safe and sound!!
Thank you so much to all who helped and especially to the Norfolk SPCA (Michelle and Tori!!!) without whom I would probably never have seen my girl again!