A family in Wasilla, Alaska is pleading for the safe return of an 8-year-old boy's service dog, missing since Wednesday. Abby is an 18-month-old English bulldog who is trained as Wyatt Reinhart's service dog.
Abby helps Wyatt with his autism and helps him handle pressure situations. "She helps him focus and be calm," said Wyatt's mother, Judy Reinhart. "When we go out in public, he gets really upset because there’s too much input and he just goes off. She stops that and he can go out."
Wyatt has been "devastated" for the past few days, after Abby appears to have been snatched from their yard. Wyatt and Abby were outside playing in the front yard, as they usually do, at around 2 p.m., on Wednesday May 23.
Wyatt stepped into the house to show his mum a fish the two had found, and when they went out a few minutes later, Abby was gone. "It happened so quick," said Judy. She knows Abby did not wander away, because as a service dog she is trained not to and fears she may have been stolen.
A neighbor saw what appeared to be a tan-colored Bronco-style vehicle pull into the Reinhart’s driveway about that time, but didn’t notice anyone specifically get out and snatch Abby.
What makes the situation especially difficult is Abby is not around to comfort Wyatt in his distress. "He’s not eating and he’s trying to go out to look for her. It’s just devastating," Judy said. "Now, he won’t eat, he wakes up in the night crying, he’s not sleeping well at all. He goes into these fits because he doesn’t understand why she’s not here. He wants us to just go get her and doesn’t understand someone took her."
Judy and Wyatt spent Thursday putting fliers up around Wasilla with Abby’s photos on them. They also posted a notice on Craigslist, but as of Sunday have still not had any leads as to Abby's whereabouts.
"It’s heartbreaking, because I don’t know what to do,” Judy said. “I put out fliers and on Craigslist and I was hoping that if we put a large reward that maybe whoever took her would let us buy her back. We’ll do whatever it takes. I just don’t know what to do."
The family doesn’t have much money to replace a specially trained service dog, Judy said, but is offering a $500 reward for Abby’s return. Local police and animal control officers are also keeping an eye out.
Anyone with information about Abby or wanting to return the dog can call the Reinhart family at 373-7471 or (406) 491-7413 or contact Wasilla Police at 352-5401 ext 2.