A Story of Two Brothers Trip to Las Vegas

April 8, 2006

Mike and I had to go to Las Vegas to pick up Atlas this past weekend. He has been with “Grandma Ginny” since late February so she could show him in Arizona and Las Vegas. We figured that we could make a weekend of it and watch the show so Mike could test out his new camera equipment. This would work better for everyone because Ginny needed to fly to Portland to be with her brother who will be undergoing heart surgery.

We left the house on Saturday morning and arrived on the outskirts of Las Vegas near 4:30 p.m. in the afternoon. We stopped and filled the motorhome with gas. I tried calling Ginny on her cell phone as we were leaving so I could find out where we could meet up with her. We had really been missing Atlas and were ready to see him. Ginny didn’t answer he cell phone so I left a message on the voice mail letting her know that we would be at the show site in about a half hour. At the same time, I got another call and saw that it was Ginny calling me. No phone conversation that starts with, “You aren’t going to believe this…” is ever going to end well.

This is when we learned that Ginny’s van had been stolen from the parking lot of the show site and Atlas and his brother, Quincy, were both in the van. Ginny had taken the boys out to the van and then went back to her set up to get another dog so she could go to her hotel. When she came out, the van and dogs were gone. Ginny’s purse, cash, identification and credit cards were gone in the van also. We told Ginny we were on the way and we arrived about twenty minutes later.

The police were still not there yet and it had now been about an hour. Dean Tiltgen, Quincy’s owner, and his father were there with Ginny waiting for the police. Dean plays hockey with the Phoenix Roadrunners and he had a game in Las Vegas that night and decided to come watch Quincy at the dog show also. We all stood around together helplessly waiting for the police to arrive. All we could do was pray, so the five of us joined hands in the parking lot and said a prayer and asked God to lift the burden and bring the boys back home safely.

The UNLV police finally arrived at about 5:30 p.m. and the officer then spent a good hour with Ginny taking her information. I tried once to get the officer to understand that we were prepared to offer a $2500 reward right then if he wanted to get that out. He told me that he would finish getting the information from Ginny and then would follow protocol for getting information dispatched. I walked away a bit in disbelief that he did not understand my sense of urgency. The person who had stolen the dogs now had a better than two hour jump on any law enforcement action. After the officer left the site, I think we were all left with the misguided assumption that this information would then be provided to Las Vegas Metro Police and that all the police in the area would be looking for the van and the dogs. This turned out to be the farthest thing from the truth. We later learned that the information was not released to Las Vegas Metro P.D. until after 9:00 a.m. on Sunday.

In the mean time, we made a call to Carie May-Bowers, GSCA’s Health & Hereditary Chairman and HT-Z official. I knew she was member of all of the GS lists and rescue lists. I asked her to please put something out to all the lists that the dogs were missing and that people should cross-post to all of their friends, any rescue lists, vets, anyone they knew in Las Vegas. Ginny in the mean time was working with the AKC representative and officials from the kennel clubs to get the information out to the animal shelters about the dogs. Neither dog were wearing a collar because they were crated, however, both are microchipped and we were hoping that if they were found a shelter or vet would contact us.

Gay Glazbrook who owns a litter sister to the boys learned of the situation. I’m not sure whether Ginny called her or whether she learned about it from one of the other folks at the show or from the posting on a list. At any rate, apparently Gay has some connections in Las Vegas. Steve Schoor who is very well know and respected in Las Vegas made some calls to local broadcast media and a reporter came out on Sunday about 10:00 a.m. to do a story so we could get it on the news. Kersten Lindquist from KVBC Channel 3 in Las Vegas did an excellent story and assured us that this would be on the 5, 6 and 11:00 p.m. news. Kappy Zahn graciously allowed her dog to be filmed by the camera crew so that people would know what a Giant Schnauzer looked like.

I then worked on getting a logon to the internet through ePetpals.com so that I could be connected to the lists and email. I called Carie and asked her to put together a reward flyer for me and send it out through the lists. I then had to call her back because they didn’t want a show picture put on the flyer believing that unscrupulous people would demand more money to provide information on the dogs. Carie revised the poster and then revised it again when we learned the correct license plate number for Ginny’s van. I then had to figure out how to get the Word file out of the laptop and over to Kinkos for printing.

We have a Sony laptop and the camera’s memory stick fits in the front. I put the file on the memory stick and Dean and his dad took me to Kinkos to make posters to hand out. Not as easy as it sounds. There was no way to get the file off the memory stick, but the desk attendant said that if I could email it to him he could print it. I called Mike back at the motorhome and at that time the WiFi connection was too slow because it was trying to download all of the emails from the lists. I then logged on to our email server at Kinkos and tried to email it myself. The guy said he didn’t get it. I then resorted to printing a black and white directly from the email. Not the best copy, but the best I could do at the time. While we were doing that, Dean got a call from Ginny. Quincy has been found. Someone had found some of the things from her van nearby and started calling some of the numbers until it was all pieced together (by whom I am not certain) but there was a “black Airedale” around. Ginny went to the gentleman’s location. Quincy came to her when he wouldn’t let anyone else near him.

Quincy, and Memo

Dean, his dad and I left Kinkos right that second and headed to the show site. Ginny wasn’t back yet but Mike and I got directions to where they had found Quincy so we could start looking for Atlas. This was around 1:00 p.m. and there was plenty of daylight left. Mike and I left the show site in our motorhome with Dean following. We then split up to keep looking. Mike and I spent the next three plus hours cruising the neighborhoods near South Nellis and Harmon in the East Las Vegas area. No luck. Feeling pretty despondent, Mike and I headed back to the show grounds to wait for the news and to see Quincy. I then sent an update that Quincy had been found and the area where he was found to the email lists.

Everyone gathered in our motorhome to watch the news. The story was great and ran almost 4 minutes. Pretty good coverage in my estimation. My cell phone number was listed as the contact number in case anyone had any information. I got my first call within 2 minutes of the new story being broadcast. Someone called and said they saw the story and that he had seen one of the dogs running loose with a flexi-type leash at Fremont and 11th Street near the Bunkhouse Bar at 2:00 a.m. that morning. Given that this was not close to where Quincy was found, we believed this to be Atlas.

No more calls. We decided to get our plan together so we could get a good jump on things in the morning. We figured we better get a couple hundred flyers printed and then rent a car so we could cover more ground than we could in our motorhome. Mike and I went back to Kinkos and printed flyers while trying to call places and see if we could rent an SUV since we had Abby with us and hopefully would be able to fit Atlas if we found him. No luck on rentals since it was around 7:30 p.m. on Sunday night. We scrapped that plan and said we would call the closest Enterprise rental because they opened at 7:30 a.m. and have them deliver a car to us in the morning. We headed back to the show grounds.

We were very tired because neither one of us slept more than 15 minutes at a stretch the night before. We had thought of all of the awful things that people will do to dogs. This is hopefully the closest we will ever come to knowing how it feels to have a child abducted and have to worry about what happened. At this point, we were even hoping to find a body just so we could have closure. We still couldn’t even think about getting sleep so I called Carie again. She gave me numbers for Mike Eyler who has adopted two GS from HT-Z rescue and he just retired from Las Vegas Metro Police. I know Carolyn and Carie had been trying to get his numbers so they could put us in touch with him. They knew he would be happy to help out. I called Mike Eyler and he said that he had already made contact with patrol officers and they knew what was going on and he assured me that people were looking.

Mike Eyler took information about what had happened, where Quincy had been found and I also told him about the tip that I got after 5:00 p.m. news. He said that he was pretty sure that it was the van they were looking to steal, and that the dogs just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. He also said that the area of Fremont and 11th was not the best part of town, but he knew that there was a lot of foot traffic. He said that if the reward poster got out that he was sure if someone knew something they might be inclined to do the right thing. I asked him if he had the poster and he said he did. He said he would print it out and take it to the patrol officers in the Fremont Street area so they could hand it out and knew that they would do so gladly. I felt better knowing this would get more exposure for Atlas than we would be able to do even in the morning.

My Mike and I finally sat down and were watching television, now waiting for the 11:00 p.m. news to come on. My phone rang at about 8:30 p.m. and a woman said that a friend of hers told her about the news story. She said she was a bartender at “The Bunkhouse” and that one of their patrons, an indigent type, had brought the dog in at around 7:00 a.m. that morning. She knew he was too nice a dog for that neighborhood and was sure someone would be looking for him. She also said that all of the patrons really liked him and wanted to take him home. She was concerned that someone would just take him because he had been tied out back and that folks would drink and then go outside to sit with the dog. She had a friend take the dog to her house. I asked her if she had to dog with her and she said she did.

I now got her address and directions and Mike and I set out again in the motorhome to get Atlas. I called Ginny and had to leave a message for her that we were on our way to pick up Atlas. I then called Mike Eyler and let him know also. When we got to Jonnie’s townhouse, we had to call her because we couldn’t get the motorhome to her exact house number. Mike walked Abby up while we were talking on the phone. I had to grab a collar and leash. The last thing I needed was to find Atlas and have him blast by me and be running loose again.

Atlas seemed most happy to see Abby (our rescue bitch), but jumped all over us also. I thanked Jonnie and her friend profusely. Told them the story and wrote a check. Jonnie said that she wasn’t aware of a reward and if it weren’t for the fact that the guy who brought Atlas in needed to go see family and didn’t have any money, she wouldn’t have taken it. I told her that I would have insisted anyways. Now the guy can go see his family because we were now reunited with ours.

While I was writing out the check my phone rang again. It was Ginny calling to tell me that her van had been recovered. She had not played her voice mail so she didn’t know that we had gotten the call. Needless to say, Ginny was elated that both dogs were safe. We got back to the show grounds and called Carie to put it out to the lists and then called the Channel 3 newsroom to thank them and let them know that without them we wouldn’t have had the success that w did in getting both dogs back.

 Atlas and Ginny

Neither dog was any the worse for wear. Not a mark on either one of them, but very tired on Sunday night. All of us (myself, Mike, Ginny and Dean) wish to thank everyone for their prayers and for any part they may have had in mobilizing the network of rescue people, dog people and pretty much anyone who could contact people in the Las Vegas area to help find our dogs. I want to give special thanks to Steve Schoor without whom we would not have gotten the media coverage that was so instrumental in getting Atlas back to us. I am sure I don’t have any idea how many people did things for us in one of our darkest hours, but I know that your prayers played an instrumental part in having these boys returned to us. I also want to thank God for hearing and answering all of our prayers.

Tami Stoller

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