MARYSVILLE — Tater Tot, where are you?
Michael Bride is desperately seeking the return of his portly 11-year-old miniature dachshund he describes as “just a dork, a magical silly boy.”
He is offering a $2,000 reward. No questions asked.
Tater Tot went missing Feb. 6 when Bride, who lives in Birch Bay, was visiting his mom in Marysville.
Bride has plastered the area with “Lost Dog” posters, shared the pooch’s photo on social media and rallied a foot patrol of searchers.
“People are going out every day just to help us,” Bride said. “Friends have driven from south Seattle and Whatcom County just to search, canvas, hang signs, and spread the love.”
Misty Wells, of Marysville, is among the pack of strangers looking for Tater Tot.
“It tugs at your heartstrings,” Wells said. “I spend five or six hours a day. I go out with my drone and do whatever can. I have a flyer that I hold up that I ask everyone I see. There have been sightings. I feel like he’s out there.”
Anyone who has a lost pet knows the anguish. It can go on for weeks or months.
Newspapers don’t often run “lost pet” stories. There are too many lost dogs-cats-birds-reptiles out there to cover. And besides, it isn’t news.
But Tater Tot’s story, and the regional effort to find him, struck a chord with pet owners.
Found pet stories are another story. In 2020, a blind and deaf 15-year-old Australian cattle dog missing 12 days in Arlington was found alive at the bottom of a deep pit by a crew of PUD line workers replacing a nearby pole.
Tater Tot got out during commotion at the home when doors were opened to fan out the smoke to quiet a smoke alarm from food that burned in the oven.
Bride suspects the dog escaped through a back fence in the neighborhood near Marysville Getchell High School.
“He is not a runner. I think he got confused because he was in a different area and found himself outside and he went door-to-door looking for someone to open the door and let him in the house,” Bride said.
“The neighbors with Ring doorbells were able to track him scratching at doors to get in.”
Tater Tot, a Yakima rescue from six years ago, is microchipped, but wasn’t wearing a collar because it irritated his neck.
Bride and his partner have three female mini-dachshunds who are missing their bro.
“He’s the sweetest, most silly healing character in the whole wide world,” Bride said.
He turned to help from Facebook groups Lost Dogs of Snohomish County and Lost and Found Pets of Snohomish County. These groups have been successful at reuniting pets with their people.
Bride hired a tracker who found no signs of foul play in the area.
“He found some coyote scat but there was nothing in the scat but bunny bits,” he said.
He is optimistic as he makes the daily trips from Birch Bay looking for Tater Tot.
“We think some nice person probably answered the door and let him in or maybe doesn’t have the understanding to turn the dog in or how to go about it,” he said.
It’s a lonely time for people, he said, and it might be hard to resist “the power of a little magical character arriving on their doorstep.”
He just wants his dork back.
To report Tater Tot sightings, call Bride at 206-724-6686.
Andrea Brown: 425-339-3443; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @reporterbrown.
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