Many of our readers already know the story of Baxter and Cooper, the two Yorkshire terriers that were stolen from their home in Texas during a home robbery. We followed their story, saw the postings on FaceBook and hoped against hope that they would be found. I didn’t like seeing the postings, for entirely selfish reasons. Every time they’d come up I would stop and wonder what I would do in that situation and how I could function if my precious dogs were taken.
And then the unimaginable happened. Eighteen months after they were stolen, Baxter and Cooper were found! And they set about living happily ever after.
But, for some reason, I just couldn’t stop thinking about them. I wondered how their owner had survived all those months of not knowing. How did she find the strength to keep looking, how come she never gave up? What was it that made her push forward, beyond all the people who told her to move on, get a new dog, accept that they weren’t coming back?
And so, I thought I’d see if I could find those answers, make some sense of the story behind the story…and today I’m here to share those answers with you.
Welcome Peggy, we are so very thankful that you have agreed to tell us your story.
Please take us back to that terrible day, April 22nd, 2011.
That day I went to the office for an early morning meeting; my friend took Baxter and Cooper to the groomer and brought them back freshly groomed at 1:00pm. He took them out back to go potty and then he left them in a gated area inside my home.
I arrived home at 2:00pm. I had just been on the phone with my Aunt and as I was hanging up I told her “Well, I’m almost home, so I guess I’ll let you go. You know I can’t wait to get inside to my babies.”
When I pulled into the garage, I put my driver’s side window down to listen for my babies to bark and welcome me home.
I know this sound all too well, its music to my ears.
Unfortunately, there was no music for me that day, I didn’t hear any barking. I ran inside, saw broken glass on the floor of my dining room. Right away I looked around my dining room table frantically waiting to see my boys. They weren’t there!
I screamed and cried and found myself in the middle of my street screaming! I was desperate! I just wanted someone to help me find my boys. I don’t even recall walking out of my house I don’t know if the front door was left open, unlocked. It was all too devastating to comprehend.
As an owner of two dogs who are my entire world, I can’t begin to imagine how you felt when you realized that they were gone. What were you first thoughts?
Truly, I was in shock, I couldn’t speak I didn’t know which way to turn.
Then what did you do?
I immediately called my family and my best friend and the police (who by the way – really don’t have time to deal with stolen dogs). At first I was uncertain if my boys ran out a door and had simply run away. It wasn’t until the evening of the 22nd that my sister realized that Baxter and Cooper’s small crate was also missing. That’s when we were certain that my babies had, in fact, been taken :-(.
We started calling nearby vets, shelters, and we drove to flea markets. We posted flyers throughout San Antonio and surrounding areas, as far away as Austin. We also created the FaceBook “Find Baxter and Cooper page.”
I spent every evening using my personal page to friend people who were connected to pet people. I would even get timed out by FaceBook for friending so many people. I would send messages to one person after another after another, begging them to go to the “Find Baxter and Cooper” page and share the story.
I also contacted world known pet communicator – Tim Link – at $125/per communication. Sadly his information was VERY WRONG! I think it’s a shame that people claim they communicate with your pets, and in the frame of mind I was in I was so completely desperate to find my boys, I paid the money. I think some people just take advantage of others when they can.
Did you initially think they’d be home in a few hours or days? And at what point did you start to think they may not be coming home?
I was hopeful with all the signs we starting putting up and with every media channel covering the story that someone would call with information about their whereabouts.
How did you keep the faith and keep looking?
I would say prayers at night when I was in bed asking God to give me a sign if my babies were still alive – I could immediately feel them ‘walking on my bed’. That was all I needed, I knew God was giving me the sign and that gave me the strength to carry on.
After so much time had elapsed, how did people around you react? Did they suggest you get another dog or dogs?
My friends really didn’t know what to say anymore. Many suggested I just move on and get another dog.
Did you consider getting other pets to comfort you during this awful time?
No. I know my babies love being here, just the two of them together. I didn’t want to add another I truly just wanted to keep up the search for my precious boys.
Did this experience/ordeal change your relationships with those close to you?
Yes! As clichéd as it sounds, I definitely found out who my real friends are. I lost one of my best friends who after ONLY one week thought I should chose to move on. He really just didn’t get it and now thinks I’m a bad person for being angry. Sure I’m angry at the thugs, but I was far more hurt than anything.
When did you really start to have hope that maybe just possibly they would actually be found?
I never lost hope that they would be found, really I always had it. Yes, it was combined with a lot of heartbreak and pain, but through it all there was hope.
Were you worried that they may not remember you?
No, I KNEW WITH CERTAINTY that my babies would remember me.
When that day finally came (October 19th, 2012) and they were found and you were reunited, how did they react?
They were in shock.
Do you think they recognized you and the sound of your voice?
Yes, they knew me. It was a bit sad at first because Baxter did not ‘swim’ to me as I thought he would but minutes after I had him in my arms the detectives wanted him for ‘evidence’ pictures and then Baxter did not want out of my arms.
What was it like the first time you had to leave them after you had them back home with you? Were you worried sick?
Well, let’s put it this way it was the day after Thanksgiving several family members were in town and wanted to meet for lunch (as we have done for many years, it’s a tradition). So, I went. I called every neighbor and asked them to keep an eye on my house. I was sooooooo sick to my stomach with worry. In hind sight I probably should have passed on lunch as I was ‘there’ but at the same time not ‘really there’. I probably made it stressful for others. When I got home I drove in my garage and ran in screaming my babies names! Whew safe and sound.
How are they doing now that they’ve had time to settle back in?
Well, for the most part they are doing great. Cooper had trauma, his front legs are not working properly and as a result we have visited the surgeon several times. He is now getting steroid injections and will be receiving acupuncture, and possibly future surgery. Thankfully, Baxter is doing GREAT!
Do you notice any changes in them?
Just Cooper’s front legs, oh and their fur was filled with dust mites. We drove straight to vet and had them checked out, then groomed soon after.
Lastly, what did you learn from this experience, is there anything you can share that could help someone else if this were to happen to them?
I learned that FAITH is a gift from GOD, keep it and it will get you through it and I believe in miracles!
The steps I would recommend to anyone who may find themselves in a similar situation is:
1) KEEP SHARING THE INFORMATION AND
2) DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK (BEG) PEOPLE TO SHARE YOUR INFORMATION
As a result of this experience, I still have people from other countries sending me messages on FaceBook.
Anything else you’d like to share?
1) In addition to those close to me and strangers worldwide who shared my story, I would like to thank Dan Phillips the private investigator from Mission Investigations and the Atascosa police department for all their efforts in working to find my babies and bring them back to me.
2) And speaking of lost and found dogs. I found a sweet brown dog in the Estates at Arrowhead subdivision in Stone Oak. Maybe someone will recognize him. I have posted on the Stone Oak lost & found pet FaceBook page and on Craigslist. I thought it wouldn’t hurt to share on your page. I hope someone will see the picture and find their baby!
Here is a link to another precious missing baby, please share.
Thank you again, your story is inspiring and we are so happy that your boys are in your arms tonight.
For more on this story, watch the news clip here