Woman Whose Dog Goes Missing While She’s Battling Illness Refuses To Give Up Either Fight

Some pets come into our lives at exactly the right moment. When we’re facing challenges that have us stressed to the core, these animals have a way of making everything all right. One woman from California knew this all too well.

After doctors delivered her some bad news, she turned to a lucky animal to guide her through the most trying time of her life. So imagine her horror when she got an alarming phone call about her beloved new pet that would make the diagnosis an afterthought…

Kameroun Mares is a 26-year-old woman from southern California, who loves to surround herself with animals. In the photograph below she might be smiling and happy, but in reality, her life beforehand hadn’t been so sunny. 

Kameroun Mares

In the early-2010s, Kameroun was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a cancer of the blood and bone marrow that affects the white blood cells. Dealing with the illness was hard and took a serious toll on Kameroun, as you can imagine. 

As a result, Kameroun became depressed as she fought day after day for survival, but she wasn’t going to give up — she began her chemotherapy. Luckily, her body was responding well to the treatment plan, even if it didn’t feel that way. 

Kameroun Mares / Facebook

Finishing up her last few rounds of chemotherapy, she started wondering what she was going to do once her days in the hospital were limited. She needed something to look forward to and dream about. Bringing a new companion into her life was the perfect thing. 

Kameroun Mares / Facebook

You see, Kameroun wanted to adopt a dog, a husky to be specific. She thought the new member of the family would make the perfect companion when she went home to Florida and it would help her to gradually heal and remember what really mattered. 

She named him Semper Fidelis, which translates from Latin to “always faithful,” but called him Semper for short. What better name could you give to an animal known as man’s best friend? 

She taught him basic commands like “sit” and “lay down,” but she also taught him more advanced commands like “go home” or “Where’s your home?” Semper was helping Kameroun heal from all of her pain, but this happiness was short lived. 

Kameroun Mares via ABC

Unfortunately, cancer wasn’t done with her yet. She had to go back across the country. She wanted to take Semper with her, but for multiple reasons, she wasn’t able to. She needed to figure out what she was going to do.

Kameroun Mares / Facebook

Going through cancer treatment is brutal and having a support network is critical. Luckily for Kameroun, her roommate in Florida offered to take care of her beloved pooch in her absence. She agreed and got on a plane, leaving Semper behind. 

Arbili / Reddit

But things were about to go from bad to worse. Kameroun received a call she was never expecting. It was her roommate telling her that Semper was missing, and she didn’t know where he was. Kameroun was heartbroken and worried sick about her beloved pup. 

In a panic, she made her way to the airport to go back home and begin the desperate search. She began looking everywhere around the area for him. She checked local shelters, vets, and the police, but no one knew where the dog was. 

Brokenhearted, time was finally up and she had no choice but to return to her treatments unsure if she’d ever find her canine friend. But if Kameroun was one thing, she was a fighter and she wasn’t about to give up!

“For a year, I continued searching… posting up fliers via pet sites, calling 15 vet places around where I used to live over there about him, calling the humane societies about him, shelters. [I] posted info about him on Facebook, lost dog forums, and pages and groups.”

 But the phone never rang. “Every day I waited for a phone call about someone finding him… His microchip is registered to me…yet I received nothing. I was worried sick about him, and missed him dearly,” she said. 

Then, just when she thought all hope was lost, she had an idea. It was an unusual one but she was out of options. She decided to get help from a pet detective. 

Flipping through the yellow pages, she settled on private investigator, Ana Campos, who specialized in lost persons in southern Florida. Campos agreed to help Kameroun search for her beloved pet, realizing that she was Kameroun and Semper’s last hope to ever reunite. 

Ana Campos / Facebook

New help brought new ideas for ways to bring her boy back home. Campos encouraged Kameroun to revisit her lifetime registration with the AKC Reunite program which helps ensure pets are correctly registered to their owners.

So in May of 2017 Kameroun went to the Humane Society to check about the registration of Semper’s microchip. When she asked for a review of Semper’s chip, however, was met with some truly shocking news…

Oddly, A year prior, a woman registered her name on Semper’s chip. Apparently, the microchip company failed to check his chip before registering a new owner. This gave Campos the lead that she needed to move forward with the case.

That’s when Campos made an appalling discovery. Someone had listed Semper on Craigslist to purchase for $200. This is why he never showed up in the shelters, vets, or police stations, and this is why no one ever contacted Kameroun’s desperate pleas.

Craigslist

Campos discovered that Kamroun’s ex-roommate was the one who placed Semper on Craigslist and lied about what had happened to him. She had stolen him from her and kept it a secret, even though she knew how badly Kameroun wanted Semper back.

Netflix

It was a gut-wrenching discovery, but Campos wasn’t going to quit. She made several phone calls and after explaining the story of the cancer patient and her beloved stolen dog, a special meeting was arranged. 

Ana Campos / Facebook

Confused, Kameroun arrived in a random parking lot as instructed by her investigator. A car she’d never seen before pulled up and when the door opened she couldn’t believe who came sprinting out — Semper! 

Ana Campos / Facebook

After their overwhelming reunion, Semper and Kameroun returned to California and she is finally in remission! Even though their years of separation were tragic, the fact that they were able to come together again is what restores faith. And for one North Carolina family, faith was something they needed desperately.

As the holidays were approaching, the Miller family needed to figure out what they were going to do for Christmas. The decision, this year, would be tough: their home in North Carolina had been destroyed.

KUTV

When Hurricane Florence battered the East Coast in 2017, the Miller’s home succumbed to the swift waters and raging wind. Their house was left unlivable, but they were determined to rebuild.

Debbie Elliott / NPR

Riddled with hard times, Jacob and Jamie Miller wanted a break from their chaotic life. Lucky for them, family and friends were willing to take them in, while their beloved German Shepherd puppy, Frank, stayed in South Carolina with grandma.

Donna Javaras / Facebook

So, they boarded a plane and traveled to Salt Lake City, Utah, to spend Christmas with their extended family. Still, their two boys, Perryn and Rayner, wished their furry friend could join the celebrations.

Donna Javaras / Facebook

Then, shortly after arriving in Utah and just days before Christmas, the oldest son, Perryn, complained of a persistent headache and intense pressure in his head. Concerned for their son, Jacob and Jamie rushed him to the hospital.

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Upon arrival, doctors immediately examined Perryn to determine what was wrong. Facing test after test, all 8-year-old Perryn could think about was his puppy back home.

Donna Javaras / Facebook

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, doctors were able to pinpoint the cause of Perryn’s pain. Nothing could have prepared the Millers for what the doctors were about to tell them.

Perryn, doctors said, had a tumor growing on his brain. He was diagnosed with stage four glioblastoma multiforme, an aggressive, deadly form of cancer, especially in children.

KUTV

Nothing breaks a parent’s heart faster than hearing the words “aggressive,” “deadly,” and “cancer” in relation to their child. But just like every other devastation the Millers had gone through, they weren’t going down without a fight.

KUTV

One last kiss from his parents, and Perryn was rushed into emergency surgery. In an effort to comfort him, Jacob and Jamie promised Frank could visit him once he was out of surgery.

Jennifer Reynolds / Facebook

After several hours, and with much relief, the surgery was completed; doctors successfully removed the tumor from Perryn’s brain. A victory in the young boy’s fight, sure, but there were still mountains to climb in his recovery.

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A surgery of that magnitude involves significant recovery time, followed by a rigorous course of chemotherapy or radiation treatments to insure zero cancerous cells remain in the body. This meant that the Millers were staying in Utah indefinitely.

Even there, however, they were willing to do whatever it took to help their little boy, even if that meant taking an unpaid extended leave from work and staying put with just a weekend bag. Still, something was missing from their home away from home.

Their German Shepherd, Frank, was stuck in North Carolina. He was only 8 months old at the time, and grandma just couldn’t handle him on her own. And Perryn desperately wanted to be with him.

The Millers

With the help of grandma, they looked into the cost of transporting Frank from North Carolina to Utah, but the $3,600 fee — on top of medical bills and relocation costs — was overwhelming.

Grandma had one last idea though: their community was so generous when they helped the Millers get back on their feet after Hurricane Florence, would it be too much to ask for their help once more?

She posted a Facebook plea requesting if anyone had ideas on how to transport Frank approximately 2,300 miles back to Perryn and his family. Unexpectedly, the post spread across social media like wildfire.

Donna Javaras / Facebook

News of the family’s story reached Wisconsin, where it landed on the screen of Rob and Jennifer Reynolds. Touched by the story, Jennifer shared the heartbreaking post with her husband, a former truck driver.

Jennifer Reynolds / Facebook

With little hesitation, Rob knew he needed to volunteer his time and help reunite this deserving family with their beloved dog. He felt that Frank could “help [Perryn] recover.”

Robert Reynolds / Facebook

Rising before the sun, Rob packed up his Subaru Outback at 4:30 a.m. and embarked on the nearly 20-hour trip from his home in Ladysmith, Wisconsin, to North Carolina. This was just the beginning of the long trip ahead of him.

By the morning of January 3rd, Rob had reached North Carolina to pick up the energetic pup. The next leg of the trip was going to be long and tiring, but Rob hoped that Frank would help him get through it. 

Donna Javaras / Facebook

Since the story had already spread across the internet, Rob posted updates on Facebook in regards to their 2,300 mile cross-country trip. As it turns out, Frank was an amazing travel companion!

“Frank and I got along very well,” Rob said. He “would sleep or play with his toys. We’d stop and go for walks. If he wanted to use the bathroom, he’d bump my right arm. He was perfect.”

Robert Reynolds / Facebook

The trip was going so well that Rob even offered to drive Frank back to North Carolina in the future if need be. But after 52 hours of driving, Rob hoped that wouldn’t be the case…

Robert Reynolds / Facebook

 

On January 5, 2019, Rob and Frank arrived in Salt Lake City. No one was waiting outside the snowy home, but Frank sensed his family was near by — the pooch ran right to the front door of the home!

Seventy-two hours after leaving North Carolina, Rob rang the doorbell in anticipation, unsure what state the family would be in on the other side. As the front door swung open, Rob knew the drive was totally worth it.

Facebook

Frank and the Millers went crazy at the sight of each other! For the first time in what seemed like forever, Perryn’s face lit up with excitement. The boy explained, “I felt really excited to see Frank. I just really like Frank, and he’s a good dog.”

Facebook

Forever indebted to this kind stranger, Jacob explained “It’s been a whirlwind. It’s been hard. But it’s been overwhelmingly awesome at the same time.”

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After everything the family had been through, it was a blessing to have Frank back in their arms. The only thing left for the Millers to do was keep on fighting. A sentiment that hits very close to home for one British soldier as he tried to reunite with his very own Frank.

CBS News

After two tours in Afghanistan, Sean Laidlaw (left) figured he could handle anything Syria threw at him. But when the British Army deployed Sean and his comrades in the Royal Engineers in 2018, he leaped into a rescue attempt that he never saw coming.

Facebook / Sean Laidlaw

Sean was an expert at defusing and removing bombs. The Syrian Civil War had ravaged the country over the last several years, especially in the city of Raqqa. While many buildings crumbled around him, others still had undetonated explosives inside. 

Reuters / Erik De Castro

Even when Sean wasn’t on patrol, the army life was a grind. Exciting moments in the camp were few and far between, and troop morale suffered greatly. When Sean got a call to investigate a bombed-out school in February, he was almost grateful.

Tom Bonnett

As Sean patrolled the area, he couldn’t find anything out of the ordinary. When he really focused, however, he thought he could hear a faint whimpering somewhere under the rubble. Sean followed the noise and started digging.

Mercury Press and Media

It was a puppy! The canine, which appeared to be some kind of Asian shepherd mix, backed away from Sean as he reached out. Sean knew he had to do something to help the poor thing, but then a horrific sight made him recoil.

Mercury Press and Media

A few other puppies surrounded the one Sean just found. Tragically, none of them had survived the collapse of the building. Now that the dog lost her family, Sean realized he couldn’t just leave her in the wreckage alone.

Pets 4 Homes

The pup still wouldn’t go near any strangers, so Sean did the sensible thing. He pulled out some water and a couple bites of food, and that was enough to draw the reluctant animal out from her hiding place.

Soon after, the orphaned canine let its guard down and allowed Sean to pick her up. There was an immediate bond. Sean decided to bring her back to base and introduce his new friend to all his squadmates. First, of course, she would need a name.

Mercury Press and Media

Sean called her Barrie, and she soon became a fixture in the Royal Engineers, barely ever leaving Sean’s side. Once she got settled in, Barrie accomplished quite a bit of good as well. 

Mercury Press and Media

The Army interacted with a number of Syrian children, many of whom lost their homes and family members. Amid the chaos and destruction, having a friendly dog roam around made a big difference in their lives.

Times of Israel / Bilal Hussein

Sean also believes that having Barrie around gave him an escape from the stress and trauma of the military life. Whereas some of his comrades developed mental illness or PTSD, Sean at least had an outlet and companion. 

Incredibly grateful to have such a valuable friend, Sean said “I feel like it may come across that I saved Barrie’s life, but I feel like she saved mine.” They got so close that Sean could no longer imagine being apart from Barrie.

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Barrie became such a big member of the team that Sean decided to make it official and sewed together a custom bomb squad vest for Barrie. Aside from being a big fashion statement, the vest kept her protected from danger. However, it turned out that her biggest threat was right around the corner.

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In autumn of 2018, Sean received word that his stint in Syria was almost over. He was going home — but only with one ticket. What would happen to Barrie once he left? He didn’t know if he would ever see his dog again, or even if she would still have a home at the Army base.

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Sean’s comrades celebrated the entire trip back to the United Kingdom, but Barrie weighed heavily on his mind. Then, an idea popped into his head. He remembered hearing about a charity called War Paws that helped reconnect veterans with their military dogs.

War Paws workers seemed confident they could help Sean, but there were no guarantees. They instructed him to go to Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris to await the arrival of a military plane. He waited nervously, hoping Barrie would be one of the passengers getting off.

Mercury Press and Media

As the airline staff rolled out a dog crate, Sean recognized a familiar face peering through the door. Barrie made it to Europe after all! Holding back tears of joy, Sean reached out to hand her a gift.

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He got Barrie a new and improved vest! She took a look in the airport mirror to size up her new duds — and her new surroundings. The streets of Raqqa, Syria, were all Barrie had ever known, so Sean hoped she would adjust to British life easily enough.

Mercury Press and Media

With Barrie back in his arms, Sean returned home to Hornchurch, Essex. She settled in immediately — a far cry from the scared puppy that wouldn’t come out of the ruined school. Thanks to a stable home and steady diet, Barrie grew like a weed too!

Mercury Press and Media

A full-grown dog, Barrie continued to live happily with Sean. After going through so much together, there’s no doubt that this pair would never let anything split them apart ever again.

ITV / Ken McKay

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