They have brought in scent-tracking hounds, offered a $5,000 (Ђ4,158) cash reward and handed out fliers around New York. A detective drove in from Oklahoma to help crack the case. They have looked into tips from psychics, and even analyzed a pile of dog droppings for clues.
The owners of Vivi, a show dog who bolted from her carrier at John F. Kennedy airport on Feb. 15 after the Westminster Kennel Club show, have tried everything to track down their beloved whippet.
Vivi's co-owner Paul Lepiane remains optimistic that the dog can still be found, saying the search team is hot on her trail in the Queens section of New York.
"We've never been this close," said Lepiane, of Ojai, California, who on Wednesday received a call that Vivi was spotted in a park in northern Queens one of several recent sightings in the area.
The plight of the purebred pooch from sunny California lost in rough-and-tumble New York City in the middle of winter has caught the attention of people around America.
"People feel nationwide that they're involved," said pet detective Karin Goin. "People who have never met Vivi, never been in New York City."
Offers of advice and help have poured in including tips from 30 psychics, some of which the search team pursued. "We were trying everything," Lepiane said, adding that they were happy the psychics believed Vivi was alive.
Goin said the media attention is a "pet owner's dream." But even having Vivi's story on featured on national television has not brought her back to Lepiane, co-owner Jil Walton and breeder Bo Bengtson.
Goin, who is trained as a private investigator and search-and-rescue dog handler, traveled to New York from Oklahoma last week with two scent-tracking dogs. The dogs picked up Vivi's scent at the airport, and the search team set up "feed stands" of hot dogs surrounded by sand that would show Vivi's footprints, she said, reports AP.
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