George Decker, 80, has been looking for his dog, a three year old Yorkie mix, since it slipped away from him as he was taking it to the groomer’s at Coy and Navarre Avenue on Feb. 11.
Decker is desperate to find the dog, which helped him recover from a stroke last year.
“She’s my life,” said Decker, who has circulated fliers of the dog in hopes of finding it. “Next to my wife, she’s the most precious thing in my life. I raised her since she was a baby.”
The dog, called “Little Bitz,” was a present from his daughter, Carol.
Decker had taken the 10 lb. dog to Nose to Tail grooming at 3308 Navarre Avenue for a 9:30 a.m. appointment on Feb. 11. But the dog, wearing a pink wool coat with a red collar, made a dash for it when Decker opened the car door in the groomer’s parking lot. Little Bitz, with its pink leash trailing behind, crossed Navarre Avenue and ended up near the BP Gas Station.
Amie Brodie, owner of Nose to Tail, said she was grooming a dog when she glanced out the window and saw Little Bitz rush by.
After safely securing the dog she had been grooming into a crate, she ran down Navarre in the direction Little Bitz was heading.
“But by that time, I did not see her anymore,” said Brodie. “A woman stopped in her car and said to me that someone had just picked up the dog at the corner of Navarre and Coy. But she didn’t give me any more information. So I just kept running. By the time I got down there, though, she was gone.”
Frantic, George and his wife, Addie, checked with Lucas County Canine Care & Control (formerly known as Lucas County Dog Warden) in hopes the woman had turned in the dog. But no such luck. The dog’s tags had been removed before it went to the groomer’s so they wouldn’t get lost, said Addie.
“That was a big mistake,” she said.
Addie said a witness later contacted her by phone saying that a female motorist had picked up Little Bitz just minutes after it had sprinted across the road, placed it in the back seat with her children before driving off. There was no description of the vehicle.
Since then, George has been heartbroken.
“I think about her all day,” he said.
On Wednesday, he got up at 3 a.m., crying, said Addie.
“He said he couldn’t sleep. He blames himself for not having a better grip on Little Bitz. Since he had a stroke, his hands are not very strong. That’s how she got away from him.”
Little Bitz, she said, is “his baby.”
“He loves that dog beyond all. She tells him when to go to bed. She comes and gets him, then goes to the stairs,” said Addie. “She’s spoiled rotten. She has more than 30 dresses, a raincoat, a regular coat, and 10 leashes. And she has two big bags of toys.”
Little Bitz played a big part in helping George recover from a stroke last year.
While in the hospital, his health continued to decline after a series of smaller strokes, said Addie.
Little Bitz turned that around after the doctor allowed Addie to bring it in for visits.
“When George was in the hospital, he didn’t know any of us,” recalled Addie. “He was just laying there. I asked the doctor if it was possible if I could bring in Little Bitz, and he said `Lord yes, bring in the dog, shut the hospital door, and let George pet her.’ That would be the best thing in the world for him.” Not long after, George’s health improved.
The doctor “told us she’s the best thing that ever happened to both of us,” said Addie.
George wants whoever picked up Little Bitz to know just what she means to him.
“I love that dog,” said George, choking back tears, “just like she was one of my kids.”
“George gets up in the morning and sits around. There’s nothing of interest to him. He just wants his dog,” said Addie. “And I want it for him. It belongs to him and he should have it.”
The Deckers are offering a $200 reward for the return of Little Bitz “no questions asked.”
“We just want her back,” said George.
The Deckers can be reached at 419-726-9316.