Tom and Terry Clark are not sitting idly by waiting for their phone to ring; they are on a hunt – for Lacy, their 15-pound miniature beagle.

“It was the first time we ever opened the door without her being on a leash,” says Terry Clark.

Lacy spotted a deer a few feet away and her instincts took over. Deaf to the Clark’s commands to stop, she burst through the electronic dog fence and chased the deer into the nearby woods.

Missing since September 19, they have employed every imaginable tactic to bring her home.

In the first hours after Lacy’s disappearance, they did the things done when a pet is lost; posting ads, using social media, enlisting friends in the search and offering a hefty reward of $1,000 for the safe return of Lacy. However, the Clarks felt the need to use new tactics in their search to isolate a search area.

Terry searched online for canine search and rescue (SAR) that was certified for companion animal recovery and found Pet Search and Rescue based in California. The company put them in touch with their Florida affiliate and handler, Pat Totillo.

Twenty-four hours later Totillo was on-site with Tango, a 3-year-old German Shepard. Outfitted with a global positioning system device (GPS) that transmitted her location and Tango’s, they found Lacy’s trail and mapped an extensive area.

“Lacy is traveling an easy trail, open areas with very little vegetation and along power lines and other trails in the area.” But she cautions, “Where a dog has been is not the same as where the dog may be now.”

In addition to tracking her trail, Totillo recommended other tactics including placing very large, brightly colored signs at major intersections. She also showed the Clarks how to set up wildlife cameras and feeding stations surrounded with sand to record signs of activity and identify paw prints in areas of high interest.

Totillo says that in seventy percent of the cases the pet is located, sometimes they are deceased, but she emphasizes, “the worst thing is not knowing.”

Tom and Terry are now concentrating time searching the areas around Foxfire Village and West End, which are surrounded by thousands of acres of fields and pine forest.

“We know from the hunters we’ve talked with that there are large herds of deer in these areas and we suspect Lacy may still be chasing them,” says Terry.

“She is a very small beagle, only 15 pounds – much smaller than a standard beagle, so she will be easily seen among a pack of hunting dogs. We hope the hunters spot her and we can get her home.”

When Lacy disappeared she was wearing a black nylon collar with identification and rabies tags, a pink choker type collar and a pink patterned electronic fence collar. She is also micro-chipped.

If you have any information about Lacy, contact the Clarks at 910-295-1817 day or night.

Claudia Watson is a freelance writer and may be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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