The search is on for a missing service dog in Baldwin County. A Marine Corps veteran in Magnolia Springs says his PTSD support dog disappeared after he was scared by the sound of a neighbor's 4th of July fireworks.
“The last couple days have been agonizing silence mixed with small spurts of hope,” said owner, Simon Flarity. “He is a ‘sleep under the covers’ and ‘wake you up because it's breakfast time’ dog. He is a member of the family.”
Flarity said he last saw his 11-year-old pit-bull, Tito, Tuesday morning. They had just come back to their dock from boating. It was a normal day on the water, until a sudden firework from a neighbor’s yard sent Tito running.
“A very loud firecracker, and he was not expecting it,” said Flarity. “Whatever combination it was, it was enough to set his already being timid into a flight mode, and I haven't been able to find him since.”
There is no question that this man loves his dog, but Flarity says Tito is also his lifeline. As a Marine Combat Veteran, he says Tito is his support dog, helping him overcome PTSD.
“Tito to me is survival,” said Flarity. “Tito helps keep me from thinking of certain dates in combat when we were in Fallujah. He is certified in depression therapy. Some of my episodes have gotten to where he’s had to crawl into my lap to help me break out of it.”
Like searching for a needle in a haystack, Flarity navigates through the large open fields and deep woods of Magnolia Springs. About 30 of his family members and friends have helped him expand the search into Foley and Fairhope.
Each person Flarity meets gives him hope that he can bring his best friend back home.
“I want them to know just how much I love my dog, and I want them to know that he is family, and I need him every day. I can't wait to see him,” he said with tears in his eyes.
Tito is a 55lb. neutered male with a cropped tale and black collar. He is also chipped.
Flarity is offering a $1,000 cash reward to anyone who finds him. If you think you may have seen Tito, please call Flarity at 251-214-5176.
Tito was believed to have been seen last at 7a.m. on Thursday at the intersection of County Road 49 and County Road 26 in Magnolia Springs.
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