Israeli drivers may have noticed a massive billboard offering a reward for a missing dog, displayed prominently on Route 1 between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
“Perry is lost!” announces the ad, which offers a 20,000-shekel ($5,450) reward to anyone who finds him, listing a phone number.
The billboard is not part of a spoof ad campaign, but the efforts of a woman called Raquel to find her beloved dog. Perry, a dark brown mixed collie, ran away from the dog kennel where Raquel had left him over a month ago.
“Five weeks ago I flew abroad, so I left him at a kennel next to the airport,” Raquel said. “The following evening, they called to tell me he had run off. I nearly fainted. I was on a flight back within two hours, and since then I’ve been looking for him,” she added.
Raquel adopted Perry seven years ago and the two have a very special relationship, she said, adding, “Since he’s vanished I’ve been totally heartbroken.”
She’s already combed the entire area near the kennel and her home in Mevasseret Zion, near Jerusalem, leaving the gate open for him in case he manages to make it home. She has distributed 150,000 fliers to every home within a broad radius. She declined to say how much money she’s spent on her search.
Most of the people who called after seeing the billboard have wanted to help, she said.
“I found lots of good people. If the news weren’t so bad, I’d be happy to find so many people with hearts of gold. Only twice did people make nasty calls: one who threatened to harm the dog if I didn’t pay 50,000 shekels; and another who said she was the devil incarnate – but that was very unusual,” she said.
Raquel doesn’t blame the kennel, noting that Perry was probably just spooked by his new environment: “They told me they’d never seen such a smart dog. He knows how to open locks and bottles.” She added that Perry had a microchip identification implant, and remained hopeful that he would be found.