Lifestyle & Human Interest

Couple's Dog Disappears Days Before Christmas, Shows Up for Sale States Away


Mia is an eye-catching pup who lives with her owners in Charlotte County, Florida. She’s a bull terrier — the same breed as the Target Dog — and she must have caught the eye of a passerby in December as she turned up missing just days before Christmas.

According to WBBH-TV, the owners said that in the time they’d lived in the home, Mia had never wandered off and not returned, so they suspected something more nefarious was at play.

Five days before Christmas, they reported her missing and set about trying to find their lost pet.

Owner Brandie Benenhaley had a hunch: The night Mia had gone missing, she’d noticed an unfamiliar car with Kentucky plates parked nearby. She suspected that someone may have stolen the friendly dog, and her neighbor was able to give her more details.

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“I decided to reach out to the lost and founds pets of Kentucky,” she told WBBH-TV.

Posting in the Missing Pets in Bowling Green/Warren County KY group on Facebook, Benenhaley explained the predicament.

“So this might be really far fetched but someone from possibly bowling green Kentucky came down to port Charlotte Florida to buy something from my neighbor, and the people from Kentucky were last people to see my dog, she honestly could be anywhere from port Charlotte to Kentucky but she’s my baby please help me find her,” she wrote.

“[H]er name is Mia and she’s a bull terrier with Carmel colored eyes, she’s a very sweet girl she’s only a little over a year and she has a deaf brother who needs her everyday, she’s been missing since December 19th, she’s not chipped.”

The post was shared hundreds of times, and people kept an eye out for Mia. Then Benenhaley got a message from a good Samaritan who had seen an advertisement of a dog for sale that looked just like Mia.

“She actually sent me information of the person who had my dog,” Benenhaley said, WBBH-TV reported.

Armed with a direction and contact details, the couple set out for Kentucky and made contact with the seller. Somehow, they convinced the woman to meet them at a parking lot and give the dog back to them, and after almost two weeks of separation and 13 hours of driving, Mia was back in Benenhaley’s arms.

“I called for her, and she ran up to me, and I just was screaming,” Benenhaley recalled.

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“We found our girl in Kentucky !!!!!!” Benenhaley posted on Facebook. “Someone took her from our yard and the neighbor gave me a name and a state and I did my detective work and thanks to everyone in Kentucky I found my baby.”

No word on the state of the seller or details on the agreement they reached, but Mia is back home where she belongs, and that’s what’s most important.

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking