It’s never easy to lose a pet. Your best friend is out there in the world somewhere and the search can be heartbreaking.
But it’s even worse if it’s a pet you really rely on. Losing a service animal is not only upsetting but can have negative effects for their owners.
That is the situation for one family, who is desperately searching for their dog who acts as a service animal for their autistic son—and they’re asking for the internet’s help to bring him home.
Heidi is a five-year-old Bernese Mountain Dog. She was originally owned by a family in Nebraska to be a therapy dog for their autistic son, but when the boy became violent they feared that Heidi wouldn’t be safe.
The dog ended up in the care of a breeder in Iowa, until the Carney family, from Kansas City, Kansas, laid eyes on her and knew it was meant to be.
“The moment I found her photo on Facebook looking to rehome, I KNEW she was ours,” Cailey Krosen-Carney wrote on Facebook. “It was in her eyes. And from the day we got her, those eyes did more than scan for food. They saw your soul…. and you could see hers.”
Most importantly, Heidi turned out to be a perfect companion for their 5-year-old son Reed, who has autism.
While things didn’t work out with the first family, Heidi served as a perfect service pet for the boy.
“It was kind of like she knew there was something about him. There was something she saw in his behavior that triggered some of the therapy dog training,” Paul Carney told FOX 4 KC.
All was well… until one day, Heidi was gone. On September 29, the family let her out of the house to relieve herself, but never came back.
“I knew something was wrong because she doesn’t not come back,” Cailey said.
She still hasn’t returned, leaving the Carneys desperate to find her. They’ve set up a Facebook page to get the word out, and have been following leads provided by people online.
Reed keeps asking when Heidi will be home, and the family told FOX 4 that he’s off his schedule and inconsolable at times without the dog.
The parents are holding out hope that the dog will return home again.
“We haven’t given up on finding you,” Paul wrote on Facebook. “I have tried to put on a brave face. Especially in front of the kids. But, I would also be lying if I said I hadn’t cried because of your absence. I just want you to come back home. Wherever you are. We all miss you.”
“We just want her back, no questions asked,” Cailey wrote. They’ve been pursuing every lead and tip they’ve gotten, but unfortunately one of them turned out to be a prank.
Heidi was last seen wearing a “pink camo bandana and collar” with a tag on the collar.
You can help the family by spreading the word! Share this story and let’s help find bring Heidi home!