A Chilliwack woman is pleading for the return of eight missing puppies.
Kearston Burton-Weatherhead says the rare-breed Alapaha dogs are the last connection to her beloved sister Dainya, who died suddenly June 28. Within an hour or two of Dainya’s death, the litter of puppies was taken from the home she shared with two roommates.
Dainya was a dog breeder who loved what she did, and as her family copes with unimaginable grief, Kearston doesn’t feel she can lay her sister to rest until the dogs are found.
“Her puppies were absolutely everything to her,” she said. “This is the last thing that we have of my sister’s that she put her heart and soul into.”
Kearston drove three-and-a-half hours to Kamloops last week, with lots of time to think about the theft and how it’s preventing her from processing her sister’s death.
She said she’s feeling angry because she can’t grieve.
“We haven’t been able to sit down as a family because we’ve had so much to deal with trying to find these puppies,” she said. “My poor parents are consumed with finding these dogs and laying their daughter to rest peacefully. I’m the type of person who makes sure everybody is OK first and I deal with myself later. I haven’t had a chance to fully wrap my head around the fact that I’ll never see my sister again.”
A black or dark grey 2000 Honda Odyssey minivan was seen speeding away from Dainya’s home around 6 a.m. on the morning she died (June 28), and that remains the best lead Kearston has.
She reported the theft to Kamloops RCMP, but she said the police have been “extremely uncooperative.”
“I’ve given them all the information I’ve received. I emailed and called for days and nobody got back to me until last night (July 4),” Kearston said. “And pretty much what they told me is I’m out of luck.”
Kearston is trying to remain optimistic, but more and more she’s feeling despair. She admits to feeling like she’s searching for eight needles in a giant haystack, but giving up is not an option.
“I’ve scoured Kamloops,” she said, adding that she’s up at 6 a.m. every day to continue the search. “I’ve sat out front of my sister’s home. I’ve driven around showing pictures to people at gas stations. I’ve gone to vet clinics and given out my phone number to as many people as I can, just in hopes that anything comes back that helps me find them.
“I feel like I’ve got the world on my shoulders right now and I can’t disappoint anybody because so many people are invested in helping us. I left my kids and husband and my animals to come up here and find these dogs, and I’m not willing to stop until they’re found.”
It’s going to be difficult for the puppy thief(s) to move the dogs without being noticed. Kearston is keeping a close eye on Kijiji, Craigslist, Facebook and other online platforms.
“This is such a rare breed that it’s not going to go unnoticed if you advertise that you have them,” she said.
A cash reward is being offered for the safe return of the puppies, and while Kearston would love to have accountability for whoever took them, she’ll accept just getting them back, no questions asked.
“Drop them off at the SPCA, the police department, the fire department, anywhere,” she said. “Please just give them back. It’s not about what they’re worth. It’s about having my sister’s babies home.”
Anyone with tips can phone Kearston at 604-378-2303 or find her on Facebook by searching Kearston Burton-Weatherhead.