A Chandler woman devastated by the loss of her senior wire fox terrier Feb. 14 found an international outpouring of support in her effort to find him.
Karen Furgeson is offering a $1,000 reward, no questions asked, for her dog, Buddy, whom she believes was stolen from her home on Valentine’s Day while she and her husband were at work.
She has looked extensively over security footage of her front yard provided by a neighbor, which showed that nobody was in her driveway and that her dog had not escaped from the front of the house. Buddy would have had to jump over a large wall in her backyard – something he had never done on his own.
Behind her house is a church, which does not have video for her to view of the parking lot adjacent to her yard. Thus, it is impossible for Furgeson to identify the potential thief.
“Somebody had to know when my husband and I were going to be out, so I’m thinking it has to be somebody that knows another person close to our house,” Furgeson said.
Hundreds of emails from around the world offered moral support for Furgeson and begged news media to report the theft in the hopes someone might see Buddy’s photo. Many people also donated toward a reward she has put up to find the lost dog.
Furgeson said local police came to her house and she believes whoever took the dog had a financial motive.
A fellow wire fox terrier named King won Best in Show at the Westminster Dog Show in early February. Furgeson said there is a perceived high value for Buddy because of the national fame that the breed began receiving.
However, Buddy is hardly a show dog anymore.
At 14, he has trouble with sight and hearing and takes regular medication to prevent seizures, which could make him a hard sell.
“Now they’re sitting there with a dog that they aren’t going to get money for, and they don’t know how to take care of if something happens to him. The $1,000 I’m offering is way more than they’re going to get anywhere else,” Furgeson said.
A friend created a “Bring Buddy Home – Reward Fund” GoFundMe page, aimed at raising the money for Buddy’s reward in the community. In just 14 days, the site had received 45 donations, totaling over $1,300, and Furgeson had to ask people to stop giving money.
“I had to tell people to stop giving money to it,” Furgeson said, “Now, I’m asking if people want to help that they share the social media posts and try to get the word out as much as possible.”
Furgeson also said she has hundreds of Facebook friends who own and appreciate the wire fox terrier breed. A Facebook group, “Bring Buddy Home,” with a picture of the dog had over 300 followers, and far more posts and shares. Furgeson also created a Twitter page with the same name.
All-in-all, she estimates over 10,000 people have seen her posts. The figure seems to be growing.
The SanTan Sun News also received numerous emails from concerned dog owners around the world. As of March 4, the newspaper’s inbox had messages from people in Texas, England and even Australia asking for updates on Buddy and advocating for his safe return home.
Because of the widespread social media campaign, and putting her cell phone number on fliers throughout the neighborhood and online, Furgeson has had sporadic negative experiences as well.
A man sent her text messages asking her if she had a husband, and a Craigslist user tried to hack her post on the site and use it for “nefarious purposes.”
She said she will likely have to get a new phone number at the conclusion of the search, and is a bit confused at a few of the reactions, but for now is incredibly grateful for the way people have helped in her efforts to find her dog.
“That definitely was a bit weird, but for the most part the support has been overwhelming. I really appreciate the way people who love these dogs have helped me,” Furgeson said. “I just want Buddy back.”