Nearly four months after Fernando Quandt’s therapy dog disappeared, the local Marine veteran and his wife haven’t given up the search.
The couple is holding a candlelight vigil Saturday night in Chula Vista for Nahla as well as for other lost pets to raise awareness of their missing dog.
Nahla ran away from the couple’s Chula Vista neighborhood on Christmas Eve while the couple was out of town visiting a sick relative.
The dog helps Fernando Quandt cope with his post-traumatic stress disorder from his time in the Marine Corps and without her he’s lost.
“It’s almost like she could sense when I’m kind of in the middle of one of these episodes and she’d lick me or come and make the physical contact she made with me (that) kind of pulled me back,” he said.
The couple hired a well-known pet detective, launched a Facebook page and started tacking up giant posters in town. But after weeks of no luck, they hired a person to bring in specially trained dogs to try and track Nahla’s scent.
The scent brought them to the San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge. The couple asked the government for special clearance to allow Quandt to camp out in hopes of tracking down Nahla.
The Quandts also check in regularly with animal shelters and since Nahla is microchipped they say they’d be notified even if her boyd was found on the side of a road.
“…She’s not just a pet to us. If she was just a dog to us, we’d just go get another dog,” Vivian Quandt said.
Quandt and his wife, Vivian, realize some people might call them crazy: spending so much time and thousands of dollars to find their dog.
“I don’t know if it would ever go away,” he said. “It’s always on my mind. Always present. It’s playing itself out somewhere inside my mind.”
“I don’t know if we’d ever stop looking for her.”