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Valley woman reunited dog who went missing for more than a month

Posted at 7:22 PM, Jan 04, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-04 21:23:03-05

A massive community effort coupled with prayers, sweat and tears for a Valley woman finally paid off after she was reunited with her lost dog.

Allani Selzer literally put her life on hold and dedicated herself in the search for Copper. She took time off her job as a dialysis nurse and became a walking billboard," — holding up a sign along north Phoenix streets in hopes that someone had seen Copper and picked him up.

Her story even made ABC15 News back in November trying to find the dog.

Selzer says Copper is not just an emotional support dog for her, he's a part of her family and has been a comfort to her son who is battling cancer.

Selzer said Copper was the lifeline that held her together with all of the emotional stress and heartache of seeing your own child in a fight for his life.

Copper got out of his backyard in north Phoenix around Thanksgiving.  

"At first I thought nobody was going to notice me, or acknowledge me," Selzer said. "I'm just another person standing on a street corner. Maybe they'll think I'm asking for something. I was just heartbroken. I don't know how to cope with him being gone."

One person who did see her and stop was animal rescuer Dusty Lee.

"I happened to see her holding a billboard. I felt that anybody that loved their animal enough to be a walking billboard was somebody that I wanted to know," Lee said.

She became the driving force behind the effort to find Copper. Lee rallied her forces in the rescue community and together they put up hundreds of flyers all over north Phoenix.

They shared Allani's story and Copper's pictures all over social media. Posts that were shared by hundreds of people. When flyers were torn down or destroyed Lee went out and replaced the flowers.

Selzer spent all day reading through posts on Facebook.

She said she got dozens of tips and e-mails from people who thought they had seen Copper, or thought he might be at a local shelter. She looked into almost everyone one of them, but none of them turned out to be her dog.

Finally, more than one month later, Selzer got the call she had been waiting for. A phone call from a woman who simply said, "I have your dog, you can come get him."

The woman texted Selzer a fuzzy picture that looked hopeful, but with so many previous disappointments she was skeptical as she drove the five minute distance to check out the dog for herself. Fortunately, she wasn't disappointed.

"It took my breath away. I was just so overly excited. I just ran over to him and I'm like it's you. He was inside a fence with bars and wires and I had may hand through those bars and holes just trying to hold him," said Selzer.

She gave the woman a $100 reward and took her dog home. Now, Copper has a tag with his name and number engraved on it.

Selzer said while she was so grateful to have Copper home, she felt for the thousands of other people she has encountered on social media who are still desperately searching for their lost pets today.

"Don't give up hope — just don't give up hope. Even if it's been a while maybe somebody will see that flyer and recognize your dog; maybe they'll notice their neighbor has that dog," said Selzer.