CREATED Nov. 6, 2013
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- A Las Vegas Valley family says its therapy dog for its special needs child was stolen. They're begging for the public's help in finding Buddy, the chihuahua-mix.
Buddy was living with the Cruise family for the past four years at their home near East Tropicana Avenue and Boulder Highway.
He came into their lives to help 11-year-old McKayla Cruise open up socially. She was born premature with fetal alcohol syndrome. After being raised in abusive foster care homes, her grandmother Deana Cruise adopted her.
"Mentally, she's about 7 and a half to 8 years-old now," said Deana.
McKayla and Buddy immediately hit it off. "[We'd] mostly watch movies [and] play," she told Action News.
"[McKayla] would take [the dog] in her room and sit on her bed and talk to that dog for hours and he'd just sit there like he understood everything she was saying," Deana said.
In early October, Buddy got loose from the family's backyard fence. Deana said a neighbor saw a man on the street take the dog and drive off.
For McKayla, it has been devastating. "She cries every night. She's having her bad dreams again and she calls out for him at night," Deana said.
"I miss him a lot," added McKayla.
For the past month, the family has been posting flyers around the neighborhood asking about the dog's whereabouts. So far, nobody has tipped them off.
"He was my pal and my best friend," said McKayla.
Grandmother Deana added, "I'll buy whoever it is a dog. I'll get them a dog. If that's what they want, [I'll] get them a dog, just bring Buddy back."
The family wishes it could offer up a reward for the dog, but tells us it has fallen on hard times.
The family says Buddy was last seen wearing a red collar, but without a tag.
Anyone with information can contact the family at (702) 526-5839.