While families gathered to open gifts, feast on ham or attend church on Christmas Day, Tiffany Harris was chasing her runaway Chihuahua down Western Boulevard.
Hours earlier, Harris had dressed Haley, her seven-month-old chihuahua, in a red and green dress and taken her to her sister’s house in Raleigh to celebrate Christmas. During the festivities, Haley escaped from the house.
A chase ensued, with Haley racing through neighbors’ yards in her colorful dress and Harris and her family in hot pursuit, huffing and puffing. They eventually lost sight of Haley, and despite continuing to search, they couldn’t find the pooch.
To help find her furry companion, a devastated Harris, 29, took out an ad in The News & Observer, posted notices on Facebook, published an ad on Craigslist, put up fliers in Raleigh and contacted the Raleigh police.
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In the ads, she begged readers to “do the right thing” and call her if they found Haley, who was not wearing her collar at the time of her escape. “Please God bring her back to us,” wrote Harris, who transports patients for the Wake County Sheriff’s Office.
Several people called to see whether Haley had been found. One caller reported seeing a green car pick up a white Chihuahua in Raleigh, causing Harris to wonder whether Haley had been taken. A bear onesie Haley had worn, along with a blanket covered in snowmen and candy canes, were reminders of the missing pup.
“I was so worried, and I couldn’t stop crying,” Harris said. “I cried myself to sleep every night.”
On Dec. 27, a good Samaritan who had seen Harris’ posts on Facebook contacted her and said her relative had found a white dog in a red and green dress in Raleigh. She sent Harris photos, and sure enough, it was Haley.
The two were reunited the same day. “It was such a blessing to get her back,” Harris said.
Harris said she plans to take Haley to the veterinarian on Tuesday to have a microchip implanted, to help track the dog if she decides to run away again.
Madison Iszler: 919-836-4952; @madisoniszler