On a Saturday night in February, a slender young dog who looks a bit like an Irish setter dipped in an ink jar vanished into the night on Park Avenue in Bronxville. She was only gone for five or 10 minutes before her owners noticed she was missing.
“My husband was grilling something on our deck. He didn’t see her, and I didn’t know she had gone into the backyard,” said Mary Mackintosh. “I called her. She always comes when she’s called. And she was gone.”
On Thursday, the Mackintosh family would have celebrated the second birthday for a pup they named Elsie when she came home to them at just 8 weeks of age.
After months of hanging posters in the neighborhood, sounding alerts on the Internet, and calling area police stations and animal shelters, Mackintosh said she still dreams of hugging her dog again. “I said to my husband that all I want for Mother’s Day is to have my baby back,” she said.
Failing that, she’d just like to know what happened.
“My hope is that some nice family has her and would like a nice reward. I don’t even know how much I would offer, just about anything I can afford to get her back,” Mackintosh said.
Mackintosh doesn’t believe Elsie would go far on her own. “Clearly somebody found her. Even the garbage man, who knew and loved her, said somebody has stolen her,” she said.
A neighbor’s remembrance of squealing tires at about 8 p.m. on Feb. 23, the evening Elsie went missing, makes Mackintosh wonder if someone might have hit her dog and taken the body.
“Even if someone did hit her and she died, I’d rather know that rather than fear that someone has her and is abusing her,” she said.
Elsie was microchipped, so the family was able to put out a pet Amber Alert to area vets, so the dog probably hasn’t been to a doctor.
The family’s three sons, ages 22, 18 and 15, have spread the word out so well that Mackintosh said everyone in the area knows Elsie is missing. “People I don’t even know stop me and say, ‘Have you found your dog?’”
Matthew Sellecchia, owner of Paws and Play Pet Resort in Tuckahoe, where Elsie went for day care, said everyone who knew Elsie tried to find her.
“When Elsie went missing, our entire staff was devastated. We tried to help as much as we could. We made a flyer we posted. All of our clients like our facebook page, so we put photos on that,” he said. “Our employees, including myself, got in our cars and just drove around and looked.”
The dog’s temperment, which made her so beloved, also made her easy prey. “If someone found her on the street, she’s the sweetest dog in the world. She would have gone right up to them and licked them and probably jumped right into their car,” Sellecchia said.
Macintosh said the family’s other dog, a 13-year-old Golden retriever named Lily, still expects Elsie to come home. “She looks for her whenever we go outside,” Mackintosh said.
If you have information about Elsie, please contact Mary Mackintosh via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 914-793-1580.
Above: Elsie with her companion, a Golden retriever named Lily. Family photo.