A South Florida couple is in a desperate search to find their dog, who vanished months ago while under the care of a dog sitter.
Hollywood residents Sara Cheang and Gary Jiang adopted "Puppy," a 7-year-old female Pomeranian mix, two years ago. Jiang said Puppy has separation anxiety and barks constantly when left alone.
"It was very much like our first foray into almost like having a child of our own," Jiang said.
On February 5, Jiang and Cheang left her to a dog sitter they vetted through the popular app Rover. When they returned to pick her up in Hallandale Beach, the dog sitter said Puppy escaped.
The owners have put Puppy's face all over social media and lost pet Facebook groups, exhaustively searched Hallandale Beach and even dealt with people trying to scam them out of the $1,000 cash reward offered for her return. They even hired a pet detective to help with the search.
Jiang said he connected with the sitter through the app but paid him directly, and not through the service.
"We did have confidence (in the sitter) beforehand," Jiang said. "When we checked out the dog sitter's profile, that had a lot of reviews, all five-star reviews, had feedback written from dog owners who had worked with the dog sitter."
In a statement to NBC 6, a Rover spokesperson said the app provides pet owners and sitters with access to its 24/7 trust team, among other services. The sitter, in this case, was also removed from their platform for the dog's safety, a spokesperson said.
NBC 6 reached out to the dog sitter, who made no comment.
"If there's any value that we can get out of this experience for us, I think what we would want most is for families to not lose their dog," Jiang said.