On Sept. 22, Nicole Peterdozzi and her fiancé George Elliot lost their 5-year-old yellow lab, Ace, in Ocean View. Devastated, the couple took to Facebook for help. What would come was unexpected; hundreds of Delawareans have reached out and come together to help find the missing dog.
The Race to Find Ace Facebook group has taken off, with over 2,500 members, and people posting every day. Though the reward for finding Ace is set at $6,000, the money isn’t the motive behind people’s dedicated searching. Many pets go missing, and it’s crushing for families.
“The reward is in case someone is taking him for the money. It’s a reward for bringing him back safely, no questions asked. We just want him home,” Peterdozzi said. “He’s not fixed, and he’s a large dog, so maybe someone took him for breeding or hunting, but in both situations the people will be disappointed. He’s just a big, lovable baby.”
There have been zero sightings of Ace since he went missing. Unfortunately, he lost his collar and name tag before he disappeared. At this point, it’s possible that someone has him, believes he is a stray, and is unaware of the search, but that hasn’t stopped the community.
“Our gut says someone picked him up on their way out of town. A lot of people come down for the weekend. Maybe he was picked up on the side of the road. So getting the info out there is the most important part,” Peterdozzi said.
From billboards to road signs, many people have stepped up in the search.
When DelDOT shut down the signs posted on various utility poles, people began placing signs directly in their yards.
“It’s unbelievable how much help we’ve received,” Peterdozzi said. “Someone did an 11-minute YouTube video on it. No one has to do this much, but they do, and it’s really touching. The community outreach has been so amazing.”
The Facebook group has become a place for other missing animals, too, with an array of other Delaware citizens reaching out about their pets.
“I never realized how many dogs go missing until ours did,” Peterdozzi said. “When we see another dog missing, it’s an opportunity to help them as well. We’ve got such a big community of people following this story, so the awareness helps us and others.”
At this point, many are determined to find Ace, as well as the other missing animals. There’s a heartbreaking number of pets missing, but with such a tight-knit and helpful community, it may be possible to find them, Peterdozzi said.
She urges people to reach out to her directly if there are any real sightings. Ace can be identified by his shorter tail and small, brown stripe at the top of his nose.
Reach Nicole Peterdozzi at 302-542-8344 and George Elliot at 302-218-1577. For information go to Race to Find Ace Facebook group.