The theft of a deaf puppy has set off a wave of support from the community for the Hermosa Beach family that adopted her.
, a white, four-month-old mix of boxer and American bulldog, was last seen in owner Sheyla Thomasson's car at the Manhattan Village mall in Manhattan Beach on Dec. 27. Thomasson had stopped briefly to run an errand before she took Harmony to the vet for a final round of shots.
The thief took an iPad, a $25 Visa gift card, about $70 in cash—and Harmony.
"It was obvious that somebody jimmied the lock [on the car] to get her," Thomasson said, noting that police had said they were investigating Harmony's disappearance as a theft.
Bella, the family's other dog, was hiding under a blanket when Harmony was stolen, Thomasson said.
"I have a feeling they just didn't see her—luckily. That would have been really devastating, triple-time," she said.
The theft devastated the Thomassons. "All I've done is try to find her," said Sheyla Thomasson. "I can't even focus right now … I'm just hoping somebody has a heart [and returns her]."
One of the family's sons recently asked Sheyla, "Why would somebody take Harmony from us?"
Her two youngest sons, ages 3 and 5, "wrote letters to God asking for [Harmony] back," she added.
Even Bella, who became Harmony's guide dog during the brief time she was with her adopted family, has been visibly affected.
"She's depressed," said Thomasson. "She's not eating."
What the family didn't expect was the support from the community. Along with the Lovejoy Foundation, the Redondo Beach-based organization that rescued Harmony from the streets of Compton, total strangers have rallied around the Thomasson family by donating money to increase the reward and passing out fliers across the South Bay.
"People have shown up to volunteer, to do fliers … There's a lot of support from the community, that's for sure," Thomasson said.
So far, more than $3,000 has been donated toward the for the puppy's safe return; in comparison, a cursory glance at K9Stud.com shows purebred boxer puppies selling for $400-$1,100. The Lovejoy Foundation is coordinating the donations, and Thomasson said that she plans to give all the funds back if the reward is not paid.
"We don't want to keep people's money if we don't find [Harmony]," she said.
The Lovejoy Foundation at in Hermosa Beach every weekend, and Thomasson and her family often ride their bikes to check out the dogs. It was at one of these events that her husband, Patrick, fell in love with the white puppy. He visited Harmony weekly until Sheyla Thomasson picked her up.
"I got her for him for Christmas as a surprise," Thomasson said.
The family bonded with Harmony, even nursing her through a chest infection that made her wheeze at night. She had not yet finished her course of antibiotics when she was stolen. She also hadn't finished her deworming regimen.
After the theft, two independent witnesses reported that they saw two men in their late teens or early 20s walking away with a dog matching Harmony's description. The mall has no surveillance cameras in the parking lot; however, police plan to run the fingerprints found in the car.
According to Thomasson, the case has been referred to the investigations division, and police have also requested additional photos of Harmony to distribute to patrol officers.
There is no way to track the iPad or the Visa gift card, Thomasson said in comments on Facebook. Because she is so young, Harmony is not microchipped. Her new owners planned to have the procedure done when she was spayed.
As the search goes on, Thomasson is continuing to pray for the puppy's safe return.
"She just wanted to be loved. That's all she wanted, always," she said.
"I'm trusting and hoping that somebody has a heart."
Anyone who has information on Harmony's whereabouts should call 310-350-0980 or 310-350-4124. For more information on the reward and the search, visit the Lovejoy Foundation's Facebook page.