Dog Gone

Jeanne Clark's pooch is missing. And somebody's to blame.

Last October, Jeanne Clark's Chihuahua, Gucci, vanished into thin air. She's posted Lost Dog fliers all over town, and spent hundreds on ads pleading for the safe return of her teeny pet -- all to no avail. Not even a trip to a local psychic turned up any clues. Jeanne thinks someone's nabbed her dog. Was it you?

New Times: Your dog has been gone for eight months. That's 56 months in dog years!

Jeanne Clark: It's a very long time. It's been the worst thing I've ever gone through. I always knew I loved that little dog, but I had no idea losing her would be so devastating. (Tearing up.) I honestly thought I could talk about it without crying.

Jeanne Clark isn't crazy. She just wants her dog back.
Emily Piraino
Jeanne Clark isn't crazy. She just wants her dog back.

NT: That's okay. So your life is sort of about your lost dog now.

Clark: Most of the time. It's getting better. For a long time I couldn't sleep or eat. I couldn't concentrate. I look back on it now and I was just a basket case. My husband still says, "Honey, you're wound a little tight."

NT: What happened?

Clark: I went to Colorado on a Friday morning to see my newborn granddaughter. We took the two dogs, Timex and Gucci, over to my son's house. And somebody, we think it was the exterminator, let Gucci out. He left a note saying, "I'll come back another time, I don't want to let the dog out." We just think he went in and she slipped out.

NT: Horrors!

Clark: My son called about 5 o'clock and said, "Did Gucci have her tags on? She got out." He and some neighborhood friends all went out to look.

NT: Chihuahuas are pretty small dogs. Did he look under the bed?

Clark: Well, she was in the yard. So the first thing I said was, "Did you look in the pool?" It's awful, but it's what I said. Well, she wasn't there. I said, "Hire the neighborhood kids. Go look for her." I look back and wish I'd gotten on the plane that night. I could've found her. She has little legs; how far could she have gotten?

NT: I'm guessing you put up "Lost Dog" posters.

Clark: We were out for 13 hours that first day, nonstop, passing out 300 fliers. You couldn't go down any street without seeing a half-dozen of them. She was spotted on Day Three, but [the woman] didn't mention it until the following day. I'm like, "And you didn't call me yesterday because -- ?"

NT: What an idiot.

Clark: I even sent her a note that said, "You know, the next time you have a chance to help somebody, don't just sit around." She called and said, "I wanted to check with my husband before I told you I had seen your dog." I said, "What does your husband have to do with anything?" You can't believe people. You just can't.

NT: I never do.

Clark: After that, I started running classified ads in all the papers. Then I switched to display ads. It's had a lot of exposure, and I've tracked down a lot of leads, but they haven't amounted to much.

NT: I hate to be an alarmist, but do you think there's a conspiracy? Is there something you aren't being told?

Clark: You know, my daughter brought that up, too. How come Gucci got out and Timex didn't? They're always together. But then, the exterminator left a note. I don't know.

NT: Maybe the exterminator is in on the conspiracy.

Clark: You know, I never called him. At first I was so busy, it didn't occur to me to ask him for details.

NT: Call him. Today!

Clark: And say what? I just have a feeling she got out and he said, "I better cover my tracks," and he left a note about the dog. I think it's him. I can't imagine anyone would steal an 11-year-old Chihuahua.

NT: Did you call that road kill number? The people who pick up dead animals on the side of the road?

Clark: Dead Animal Pickup? I did that. We called them every other day. We went to the pound every day. We registered her on Pets 911 and Missing Mutts and 250 different Web sites.

NT: Maybe you should contact a psychic.

Clark: I actually already did that.

NT: Bingo!

Clark: I know. When you're desperate, you do things you wouldn't normally. I thought, "Anything's possible. I'm not going to rule anything out. Let me see what she has to say."

NT: I'm dying to know.

Clark: She told me what she saw was a couple in their 50s or 60s who had picked Gucci up, but weren't going to look for me because they felt I was not a good parent. Which fits with the fact that she was seen on Day Three and Day Seven and then she was gone into thin air.

NT: Your son must feel terrible. Are you speaking to him?

Clark: You know, I didn't for three weeks. I couldn't. He could've done better with the rescue operation. I finally tried to talk to him, but I was crying hysterically, and that's when he finally realized what this meant to me.

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