When we were looking for our first house back in 2000, I told my lovely wife I only had one thing on my wish list.
I wanted a backyard with a fence so I could get a Beagle puppy.
We got the house and the fence and the Beagle puppy, and a year later – on my birthday – someone stole my dog right out of my backyard. I know they stole her, because they removed her tags and tossed them in the front yard to taunt me.
I wished all sorts of horrible ailments and calamities on the thief, and I’m not proud to admit there are still days I think about the incident and wish I had five minutes alone in a small room with the person who took my dog.
We were too broke to offer up any sort of reward, and after a month of patrolling the neighborhood in hopes of seeing my dog I gave up and simply prayed whoever took her was treating her right.
I never really got over losing my dog, especially the way it happened, so when posters recently went up around Kilgore and ads starting showing up in the Longview News-Journal about Gus, it brought back a flood of bad memories.
Gus is a 3-year-old Pug, and he belongs to Liz Couch and her family. He went missing more than a month ago in Kilgore.
“My daughter let him out to go to the bathroom. He was out for two or three minutes, and when she went to call him back in he was gone,” Liz said.
Liz and her family live near a huge patch of woods, and she immediately began to worry Gus had decided to chase something and had become lost in those woods. …or he had possibly been snatched by a coyote.
Turns out, he was taken, but it wasn’t by a wild animal. A witness saw a woman in a large, white SUV pull over and grab Gus. He was right in front of the Couch’s house.
Gus wasn’t wearing a collar, and he isn’t chipped, but that’ll change if the family gets him back.
“We just don’t live around many people,” Liz explained. “But, when we get him back, you can bet he’s going to have a homing device on him.”
Gus is family. Liz said the running joke at the house is for her to tell one of her daughters to let their “little brother” outside.
The family misses Gus, and they’re offering a $7,500 reward – with no questions asked – for his return.
“This isn’t about blasting the person,” Liz said. “We just want him back. We won’t be pressing any charges. Maybe the person saw Gus, thought he was lost and figured she was doing him a favor by taking him. Maybe she thought she was being his hero.
If you see Gus, or if you know someone who drives a large, white SUV and that person suddenly starts showing off a Pug they didn’t have before, give Liz a call at 903-986-0234.
If you’re the person who took Gus, there’s still time to do the right thing.
I don’t care if you do it for the money or because you really do love dogs, but you should know there is a kid right now who feels horribly guilty about losing her “little brother” after letting him outside to do his business. That could keep you awake at night.
Liz is too nice to say it, but I’m not.
If you have Gus and don’t return him to the people who really love him, and if you’re still able to sleep at night, I hope you wake up tomorrow with tiny T-Rex arms and the fleas of 1,000 puppies nesting in your underwear.
Jack Stallard is the sports editor of the Longview News-Journal.