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A little dog's big adventure
A newly reunited Donna Kennedy and Chica, along with family friend Katie Garrow, 8, meet some of the many local volunteer searchers.
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In the end, she marshaled legions of dog lovers who kept their eyes peeled throughout Spotsylvania for the tiny blond Chihuahua and kept in touch with Kennedy via phone and e-mail.
One was Terry Baxley Morton, who works in the transportation division of Stafford Public Works. Kennedy called her by accident, trying to reach someone with the Virginia Department of Transportation.
Baxley Morton, who often works with VDOT, offered to pass on Chica's information but also went a step further.
"I said I really understand. I feel terrible for you. I'm a total animal lover. If I can do anything else to help ," said Baxley Morton, who ultimately offered Kennedy a place to stay each time she returned to search. "By this time I had great karma with her. She was so sweet. We were like sisters by that time."
'JUST DON'T LOSE HOPE'
Every weekend, Kennedy would come back to Spotsylvania and follow up on Chica sightings.
Several people reported spotting her on Stoney Creek Drive. Others said they'd seen a dog matching her description near the Marquee Theaters. A 4-year-old told his mother he was certain he'd seen Chica near the Spotsylvania Walmart.
"I can't even tell you the number of people we were contacted by in that area that were helping me search. I have more faith in the human condition," said Kennedy. "When people are doing that for you, you just don't lose hope, because they wouldn't be doing it if all hope was lost."
When Debbie Hawkins' daughter found a Chihuahua the same weekend Chica went missing, Hawkins contacted Kennedy. Turns out the lost dog belonged to someone else, but Hawkins joined the search for Chica.
The owner of several dogs and cats, Hawkins said she couldn't imagine losing a pet in a strange place and having to go home without it.
"It was just hard for me to fathom that they had to leave town, every time knowing their dog was out there," said Hawkins, who owns a Spotsylvania bed-and-breakfast. "I would've been a mess. She never gave up."
On one trip, Kennedy brought her daughter, Katy Briedis, and one of her other dogs, Olive, to help. They left with sunburns, poison ivy and ticks--but no Chica.
Donna Kennedy pulled out all the stops in an effort to find her lost Chihuahua, Chica. In addition to hanging posters and taking out ads in The Free Lance-Star classified section, she: