"Please help us find our baby," the ad reads. "Slipped out of collar 6/29 at Marine Parkway & Route 10, New Port Richey. . . . 3 little girls miss her terribly. Reward $100. No questions asked. Call 727-848-2867." Cammy was just about to turn 3 years old, and was ready to go to her new home in Michigan.
Mike Cole, of New Port Richey, had picked up the dog a few weeks earlier, for a snowbird neighbor who was looking for a new canine companion.
Cammy, a gray-black-white Shih Tzu, was shy, and needed lots of TLC, Cole says. But with help from Cole and his fiancee, LouVene Adams, Cammy really came along.
"We got her in great shape," Cole, 70, says.
Cammy had started to come when called, started hanging out and watching TV with Cole and Adams. And she was becoming friends with the couple's other dogs: Maggie, 3, a Maltese; and Angel, 11, a Shih Tzu. She was even buddies with the couple's cat, Abby, a 1-year-old Siamese.
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In late June, Cole's friend came down from Michigan to meet Cammy. The plan was to spend the weekend getting to know her, and then fly her back home with him.
They were out on a Saturday, and Cammy got loose near Marine Parkway and U.S. 19 in New Port Richey. For more than three hours, everyone was out looking for her. Someone said he saw her by a gas station; someone saw her on the road.
Cole finally spotted her, but there was a lot of commotion and he couldn't get to her. She was near a black SUV, or maybe it was a truck, he says, and then she was gone. Cole thinks someone might have snatched her.
Cammy is extremely shy, and normally wouldn't have let someone take her, he says. But she was probably wiped out, after being outside for so long, on such a hot day. She must have just been too tired to resist.
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Cole just wants Cammy back. He's offering a $100 reward, no questions asked.
"When we find her and get her back, we're keeping her," Cole says.
The Michigan friend will have to find his own dog.
Ester Venouziou can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.