Her name is Remy, she’s 13 years old and has black semi-bushy hair with some gray whiskers around her chin. And yes, she’s a dog.
But for Stacey Miller, Remy — a Labrador Retriever and Chow mix — is not just a dog.
Like many pet owners, Miller has a deep attachment to her four-legged family member and is heartbroken the old girl went missing in November.
“She’s my girl,” Miller said. “We were on our honeymoon and she got away.”
The newlyweds were in Hawaii when the dreaded call came that Remy was missing.
Remy and her two dog siblings were being looked after by friends when she somehow managed to get out of the fence at the couple’s Jonesborough-area home.
“We think she got spooked by someone shooting guns in the area,” Miller said. “I feel she went looking for me. She’s always been very protective.”
Staying for the final week of their honeymoon was not an option for the Millers. They got busy right away booking an earlier flight home.
“We left Hawaii a week early,” Miller said. “I was a miserable mess in paradise. I was in Hawaii but my heart was here.”
She also got online immediately to search for help to find her beloved Remy. She found a website called lostmydoggie.com, a paid service that sends flyers to local veterinarians’ offices and calls neighbors of a lost dog asking them to be on the look out for the animal.
And before the Millers got back to Jonesborough, friends were already pounding the pavement trying to find Remy.
It’s been three months, and although there have been confirmed sightings of Remy throughout the area, no one has been able to actually get close enough to her to bring her home.
The Millers have pulled out all the stops to find Remy. There’s a Facebook page, called Find Remy — Our Missing Doggie, which has more than 5,000 followers. The couple has purchased print advertising, handed out thousands of flyers and even ran a television commercial for six weeks.
Pet “communicators,” commonly referred to as pet psychics, have offered their services for free to help find Remy and the Millers have also used pet tracking teams from New Jersey to search for her. That’s how they have had nailed down locations of where Remy has been in the last three months. Miller has even left pieces of her clothing at those locations, hoping Remy will hang around if she smells her human mom’s scent.
Miller said the pet tracking teams have drawn a map of where Remy’s been.“What they’ve come up with on Remy is she’s using railroad tracks to travel,” all the way to Elizabethton, some 13 miles away. They also found a place in Boones Creek where Remy had been traveling by way of the railroad tracks.
So far, Miller estimates she and her husband have spent around $10,000 trying to find Remy.
But even with all that money, the word-of-mouth publicity and dedicated friends and family searching for Remy, the elderly dog remains lost.
“We feel there’s somebody not on Facebook who might have her,” Miller said. “I miss my girl, I hope and pray to God she’s safe and warm if she can’t be with me.”
Ultimately, though, Miller wants her beloved dog back.
“We want her home, period. It doesn’t matter who has her and if they’ve spent money on her for vet bills, etc. We can reimburse them, with receipts of course,” she said. “If anyone knows who has her, they can call us anonymously or send texts. If someone is fearful of calling animal control for fear she will be put down at a shelter, she won’t be. The area shelters are looking for her, too.
“If they’ve fallen in love with her, I understand, but she has a family that misses her terribly and they would be more than happy to bring her back for visits as often as possible.”
As the search continues, Miller said community support has been amazing over the last three months.
“The support from the community has been absolutely mind-blowing ... the messages I’ve received from people I don’t know. They’ve fallen in love with us,” Miller said.
Through the searching, Miller has been able to reunite several lost pets with their owners, she said.
When Team Remy is out looking for Remy, they often come across many other dogs wandering alone.
“The problem is there are so many dogs on the loose and people let their dogs roam,” she said.
Rain or shine, each weekend Miller and Team Remy are out searching for the four-legged family member. She and her husband have had to remind themselves they should also be enjoying their newlywed status.
“I told someone the other day that I’ve been married 12 weeks and 11 of those I’ve been sad,” Miller noted.
But the Millers will not give up searching for Remy until they find her.
“She’s been with me through so many life changes (including) moving here from Texas. She’s been with me through most of my adult life. She’s always been there, never left my side and I’m dealing with the guilt that I can’t find her,” Miller said. “Even if she’s not with me, I want her safe. I don’t want her suffering. I need answers, I need closure.”
Anyone who has a tip for the Millers can call or text them at 863-8368 or send them a Facebook message at www.facebook.com/FindRemy.