STOLEN.. No Leads... No Sightings... MISSING 3 Weeks....Recovered.
From Private Investigator Karin TarQwyn:
NOTE: This is a recovery story. It is NOT a how-to or do-it-yourself about recovering stolen dogs. This type of recovery should not be attempted by citizens, pet detectives, volunteers, pet owners or the well-meaning. The pet owners in this recovery elected not to have the police intervene during the recovery as they were not readily available and could not facilitate the exchange as it evolved. This was done with private investigators.
From Karin TarQwyn:
Zephyr was abducted from a vehicle in the San Francisco Bay Area of California. The window had been smashed and the small dog was taken. There were no witnesses and no leads in the case when I was contacted.
From W: Zephyr’s Mom… this is her story.
Karin, I was so fortunate that I was able to reach you. You were on your way to Florida and could not take a new case at that time, but still you spent 45 minutes talking to me on the phone with general ideas about what I need to do. You warned me that people will say horrible things happen to stolen dogs but to just ignore them because they don't know what they are talking about, are not helpful, and take your energy away from what really needs to be my focus - getting back my dog.
The Nay-Sayers and The Horribles… Trying to stay positive
I received an email from one lady who said my dog was probably in a dog fight ring. I ignored her and kept doing the best I could. A few days later I got a text from a woman who had been helping me look for Zephyr. She said that she'd been hearing people talk and that the lady in the email was probably right and that she just hoped my dog wasn't dead. She had been huge in keeping me positive and helping me stay motivated during the first week Zephyr was gone but now she too was telling me horrible stories. I started hyperventilating, gasping for breath, rocking, heaving. I got in the car and drove down to Daniel in a panic attack. I told Daniel I have to talk to you. Kept repeating it. He encouraged me to call you. I called you balling and totally incoherent. You told me to calm down, that you couldn't understand me, and that I have to speak more clearly so you can help. Immediately, my body softened, and an ease overcame me. I told you what the woman said. You said, "she doesn't know what she is talking about and that so rarely/basically never happens." You explained that one of your dogs was sick, and you were driving from Florida straight to Nebraska, so you would take my case remotely and would start my case the next day.
From Karin: Sometimes in a case like this one, it is imperative to keep the pet owner from imagining all the horrible. Facebook and social media can make this tough as everyone with an opinion has access to the pet owner; many will voice their unsolicited opinions about the awful that may have happened. These people and their awful guesses do nothing to help the case and only causes the pet owner more stress and less energy to move forward. To these people I offer this advice: If your graphic and/or awful theory or guess is not actionable and does not move the case forward; keep your horrible to yourself.
Karin, I will never forget you as long as I live. I am so grateful to you for not just helping me get Zephyr back but the whole way you walked me through the process from beginning to end. And not just walking me through the physical action but also the emotional component. Thank you for everything you do and for being who you are. I am lucky to know you.
Incredibly grateful, W & D in California
Confidence arrives… Karin is on the case
I was finally able to breathe. I knew that I was in good hands. Your confidence and directness gave me ease. We talked the next day, and you immediately gave me things to do. I was so thankful and was writing it all down. You said I sounded tired and asked if I was tired. You saying that re-energized me. I knew I had to rise to the occasion. I became clearheaded and focused.
You sent me information immediately. You hadn't even taken my payment information yet. I was so touched by how driven you were to help me find my dog. At that point, finding Zephyr took priority over getting my payment information. I trusted you completely and immediately.
You said our goal is to create a campaign for Zephyr and to get the word out about him everywhere. You said we should go to the police and file a police report but that we really needed to get the word out and reach “the bad guys” or someone who may have purchased Zephyr after he was abducted. You said I should be ready to put up at least 500 signs… everywhere. You created the sign, got my approval, and immediately placed the order and told me when and where to pick them up. Inspired, I went home and created Zephyr a Facebook page with the tagline "Bring Zephyr Home."
You gave me an assignment to do every single day. I could get out of bed in the morning because I wanted to be able to report to you all I had done. I appreciated working with you because you kept me accountable. That kept me grounded and focused. Even having a list of things to buy to put up the posters was significant. I walked into Home Depot and bought two of everything. I felt productive. You gave me a script to use on my answering machine. I did that and felt productive. You brought another PI onboard to help. I canvassed the neighborhood. I called Alexis. I was taking constant, tangible steps that got me closer to Zephyr each day. You kept telling me I was doing a great job which was invaluable for me to hear to stay afloat the darkness that surrounded me.
When I got emotionally derailed you brought me back to logic with your experience and back to calm with your compassion. You sharing your own personal experience of anguish while your dog was missing and elation when you found him helped me give myself permission to be sad and gave me hope to continue my mission. A lot of people around me started saying that I had done everything I could - but you never said that, and I knew I hadn't. Because doing everything I could was enough to bring Zephyr home. That was the only reality I could live in at the time.
Doing everything… motivated others
Your signs were crucial in getting Zephyr back. People were so impressed by them. They knew we meant business. When I walked into the Oakland Animal Shelter with my poster they said it was the best poster they had ever seen and displayed it front and center on their board. People noticed the posters and remembered them. Several people in real life and social media said they saw my posters everywhere and knew that I was working so hard to get him back. That made people willing to go above and beyond than they might have ordinarily done. The flyers were also so great. I left them on doors, in pet stores and vet offices, on cars, and I passed them out to people who were walking dogs. Through the Facebook page I was able to make contacts that eventually got Zephyr's story on the news. Through Zephyr's story being aired we were able to get the Oakland Police Department to take interest. With your guidance I clearly understood that our best chance at getting Zephyr back was promoting the campaign for him.
"Your confidence and directness gave me ease. I am so thankful you took my case."
Whitney in Oakland
Above photo: This is one of the photos sent by the collector of the reward.
The Call comes in:
From Karin: W texted me. She had received the call we had been waiting for. A woman texted, “I think I have your dog.” She stated she had bought him and we never have pursued her story beyond that. Photos were texted and after reviewing them, it was clear she had Zephyr. We already had arranged for an exchange venue in front of a bank surveillance camera. The woman said she would meet to give Zephyr back… if the REWARD was paid.
W and D spent a painstaking night waiting for morning. Then in the morning the woman did not initially answer the phone or texts. She finally did around 11:00 AM. We had drilled on what would happen next. The group headed to the bank where the exchange would take place.
From Whitney: I don't know how Daniel and I would have made it through the Friday exchange.. Daniel is overly-cautious, and I am not cautious enough (which has changed 100% in regard to my little Z-muffin). Having you there to talk us through every step got us through that horrible couple of hours. You were clear with what I needed to do from the moment we began to the end and beyond.
I am also so thankful you told me how to handle answering questions that people would ask once Zephyr was returned. And talking to you and celebrating with you the night of Zephyr's return was so special!
Zephyr’s physical recovery took less than 15 seconds. It was planned down to the second. No words were exchanged. Zephyr ran to Whitney and was driven away. The woman who had Zephyr, got in her car and drove away. The license plates on her car had been removed. This form of recovery is best done with the police involved if they are amenable and available. In this case, they were not.
First one is one of the photos we had the callers send us to make an ID of Zephyr.
Second is Zephyr and Whitney as the leave the bank parking lot.
Third is Zephyr at home
The exchange; reward money in exchange for Zephyr