TUSCUMBIA, Ala. - (WHNT) A Shoals woman says she dropped off her puppy at a Florence groomer, but went home with a different dog.
According to Tami Rudolph, she dropped her Maltese, Bailey, off at Debbie’s Tidy Dog last Monday, June 3 to get his hair cut. Randolph says she picked up the same breed of dog, and same color as Bailey, but thought something was wrong right away.
“[The employee] handed it to me and I said, ‘Oh my gosh, that doesn’t even look like Bailey’ and he said, ‘Well they looked different shaved,'” said Rudolph.
Rudolph took the dog home, but quickly realized different mannerisms between the dog she picked up and her dog.
"It's physically made me sick, because I've lost a member of my family and I'm worried sick for his welfare," said Rudolph.
According to Rudolph, Bailey has more white on his nose and a birthmark on his face.
Also, Bailey is not house trained, and does not know how to beg for food; both of which this dog knows how to do.
Rudolph says she immediately contacted the groomer to warn her of the mix-up. The groomer believes Bailey may have gone home with a family who also brought in a white Maltese named Colby. The family may also have a black dog named JoJo. According to the owner of the pet salon, Debbie Watkins, the mix-up was a mistake.
According to Watkins, no one at the front desk got a name or phone number for the person dropping off the dog.
"That time they just walked in and, I guess someone else walked in, I don't know, she just didn't write the number down," explained Watkins.
The business owner says this mix-up has sparked change in their protocol.
“We have fussed about this a lot, we try to get the numbers, but sometimes you’re just in a big rush, I suppose,” said Watkins.
Now, Watkins says she plans on putting phone numbers and names directly on the dog, on a form of collar.
“I’m heartbroken and I’m sure Ms. Rudolph is, and I’m trying to do everything possible to get the dog back,” said Watkins. According to the owner, she’s turned to Facebook and the media to get the word out. She hopes whoever has Bailey will see the reports, and get in contact with her.
But while the change may be helpful in the future, this brings little solace to Bailey’s owner.
“I would say please bring my baby back," said Rudolph as a plea to the public. "I love him, he's a sweet dog, and he deserves to be with me."
If you know who may have Bailey, please call Debbie’s Tidy Dog at (256) 766-6360 or Tami Rudolph at (256) 460-0800.