At some point in your life, you've probably come across a flyer hastily tacked to a telephone pole in your neighborhood featuring a desperate plea from a pet owner searching for their beloved pet.
Here is the story behind one of those such flyers. Spoiler alert: it has a happy ending.
Tuesday April 3, Beverly Francis arrived at her Palm Harbor home to discover the family's two dogs had vanished. The garage door was open, but the dogs were nowhere to be seen. Beverly searched and eventually found one of the dogs in a neighbor's back yard. However, seven year-old Sydnie, a mixed-breed who had been a member of the family since she was a puppy, was gone.
Beverly called her daughters to let them know Sydnie went missing. Danielle Francis, 29, who brought Sydnie into the family after finding her and a littermate abandoned at a park, did not take the news well.
"I just started crying… she's like a sister," she said.
Danielle dropped her plans for the day and put up flyers everywhere she could think of. Beverly spread the word on the internet. Soon, people were sending Tweets and sharing descriptions and photos of Sydnie on their Facebook pages. Palm Harbor Patch also posted a story.
Four days passed since Beverly discovered Sydnie was missing and hope was starting to fade.
But then, Sydnie met Lexie.
There is no doubt that 13 year-old Lexie Huff is an animal lover. She proudly shows off her eight month-old Yorkie named Kiwi. She's considering a career rescuing birds. Lexie wants to have a potbellied pig at her wedding someday.
When Lexie spotted Sydnie in her Dunedin neighborhood Saturday April 7, she knew something was not right.
"I didn't know this dog cuz' I know pretty much all the neighborhood dogs and this one didn't look familiar at all," she said. "She was panting really badly, she looked so exhausted and scared and confused."
Lexie used her animal smarts to capture Sydnie. "Nobody could catch her because she was scared. I finally got her cornered and got a leash on her," the teen beamed.
Lexie gave Sydnie some water, "She gulped it down as fast as she could." Then, Lexie went on a mission to find Sydnie's owners. She began by calling the phone numbers on Lexie's tags.
"At first I didn't believe it," said Danielle. "We had no idea where she got the phone number… We didn't have any idea her tags were still on her, we thought both of the tags had fallen off," she said.
Soon, the Francis family was reunited with their beloved dog, Sydnie.
"I started crying happy tears," said Michelle Francis, 22.
And, Lexie was happy to have helped make it happen.
"Any person who loses their dog wants their dog back," she said.