TAMPA, Fla. - Just hearing the name Snowflake, Phuong Dinh is brought to tears.
"Whoever has him, I hope that they take good care of him," said Dinh while crying. "Even if he can't be reunited back with us, I just want him to well fed and taken care of."
Dinh left her West Cleveland Street home last Friday to run a quick errand. Gone for only an hour, when Dinh came home she found burglars had broken in and Snowflake was gone.
"There is no sign of him anywhere," she said.
The family moved to Tampa a month ago from Pennsylvania. They say Snowflake is not a pet but a family member. Snowflake, who only weighs five pounds, would often curl up in bed or sit on Dinh's lap.
"He is very loveable," she added.
Jonathan Vu and his sister Lauren are also shaken up. The family adopted Snowflake before Lauren started school. She is now in high school.
"All I have of him are memories," said Lauren.
Dinh said police did come out and investigate and were able to get a few fingerprints. Also taken were pieces of jewelry and an iPad. Still, those possessions can be replaced, Snowflake can't.
"Every night you know, I climb into bed and my dog isn't there," said Jonathan.
The family is questioning who would do this and why. But, the are part of a growing crime trend across the United States. The American Kennel Club recently reported that dog thefts are up 32 percent this year. Officials have been tracking dog thefts since 2007 and say most of the dogs end up being held for ransom or sold.
"I love that dog more than anything and I would do whatever it took to get him back," Jonathan said.
Jonathan and his sister created the Facebook page, 'Help Us Find Snowflake Vu.' They have also created a twitter account.
Walk or drive through their neighborhood and you will see missing dog fliers posted up. Front and center are two photos of Snowflake.
Their mother also spends a good part of each day calling local shelters and vets. She is also checking Craigslist and has taken out a classified ad in the local paper.
"I just don't want him to get hurt or anything. That is all I am asking," Dinh said.
Snowflake did have his collar on along with an ID tag. The tag has his family's phone number and address. Snowflake, however, is not micro-chipped.
The family said they are now talking with a pet detective and are desperate to get Snowflake back home. They describe Snowflake as a loving dog who is a finicky eater.
Snowflake weighs five pounds, has white fur and tan colored ears. The family said he is good natured and very people friendly.
If you see or find Snowflake, call Tampa police.
A reward is also being offered to the person who finds and brings Snowflake home.
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