A disabled woman's plea for her lost dog in Fresno

FRESNO, Calif.

Katherine Rivera considers her dog a part of the family, much like many passionate pet owners. But what sets her pooch apart is that Tabitha is also a critical part of Katherine's medical care.

"I had a stroke at 45, and I became permanently disabled, and as a result of that, I've had numerous problems." Rivera said. "I've lost the vision in both my eyes, I'm legally blind in both eyes."

For the past four years Katherine has relied on Tabitha, or Tabby, to help her walk safely around her Stockton neighborhood. She also takes her on train trips to Fresno to visit her children and grandchildren. But during one of those trips last month, the little dog ran out of her daughter's house near Cedar and Herndon after a contractor left the front door open.

"She just ran through the house and ran out the door. And I started trying to go after her." Rivera said. "I grabbed my cane to go look for her."

Katherine and her family searched for hours the day Tabby disappeared, on January 14th, and they've hung posters around the neighborhood. Tabby wasn't wearing her ID collar when she took off, but she does have a micro-chip so any animal shelter or veterinarian can help confirm her identity. Katherine is also offering a reward in hopes of being reunited with her best friend and medical companion soon.

"I just feel like there's a big hole in my heart and it's really hard for me to function this last month. I'm just praying that for Valentine's Day she'll be able to come home."

The missing dog responds to Tabitha or Tabby. She's a tan Chihuahua - Dachshund mix. If you have seen her or have any information you're asked to call 559-824-6531.

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