GARDNERVILLE - A black Labrador named "Belle" disappeared last Thursday from a Silveranch home and the owner and his family are offering a $500 reward for her return.
"We just want our dog back," said John Enos. "The reward would be given out without any questions."
The 75-pound lab is the black sheep of the family so to speak. All of Enos' relatives own yellow Labs, but five years ago when Enos purchased Belle from the Mason Valley Refuge, the two bucked the yellow-Lab trend.
The family and relatives have pasted more than 300 flyers in Douglas County. They've visited construction sites and have followed every lead they've received.
"I get up every morning at 4:45 a.m. and talk to joggers and walkers and after work do the same thing," Enos said. "It's very hard to work during the day and not be out there doing something."
Enos was away on a hunting trip when Belle disappeared from the family yard in Sierra Vista Court in the new Silveranch Estates.
He had stopped by for a break from the hunting trip last week and last saw Belle the morning of Dec. 15. When he returned Sunday his wife, Becky, and stepchildren Nicolas, 9 and Kaeli, 12, told him Belle was gone.
"They had had her in the front yard and she wandered over to one of the construction sites or something and never came back," Enos said. "She always comes back."
Belle had on a faded pink collar with a golden heart-shaped Rabies tag. She is entirely black.
"She's the kind of dog that would get right in the car with anybody and that's what I'm afraid of," Enos said. "All the scenarios go through your head about what could've happened at this point. It's hard not knowing."
Belle is spayed and has a surgical scar on her belly. She has a microchip, but that would only identify her if someone took her to a pound or vet. She is a trained hunting dog, but Enos said she's invaluable.
"She's not worth any money as far as I'm concerned," he said. "She's just our dog and we need her back."
His brother, Brook, and parents Maynard and Ann, have been helping in the hunt. In fact, it was Enos' parents who put up $200 for signs. The family has also visited construction sites with Spanish-speaking friends to ask workers if they've seen Belle.
"This is the kind of dog where if I go on a business trip my relatives were like 'I get to watch Belle this time. You watched her last time,'" Enos said. "I never had to worry about someone watching her."
He is hoping for a Christmas miracle and the dog's return. It's not every dog that has free reign in a jeep, but "BELLZJP" as the license plate on Enos' vehicle reads, means nothing without the black Labrador.
Anyone with information or leads on Belle should call the Enos family at 265-3599, 265-2509 or 782-5384.
-- Contact reporter Maggie O'Neill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1219.