Prosperity woman speaks on service dog missing since July: “You don’t need her. We need her”.


A woman in Prosperity says she is heartbroken over the idea that she may never see her dog again.

Bonnie Bates reported Tybee, one of her three dogs, missing at the end of July.

“I really don’t care about anything other than her coming home,” Bates said through tears.

The Doberman Pincher isn’t just a pet dog, according to Bates, she is a service dog to her blind dog Keller. Bates said the two never left each other’s sides – which is how she knows Tybee would never stray too far from home, for too long.

“My husband called me and said, ‘Tybee’s gone.’ My initial reaction was, ‘what do you mean Tybee’s gone?’ Because Tybee never goes anywhere,” Bates recalled.

10-month-old Tybee has been missing since July 29. She joined the Bates family when she was just seven weeks old.

“A couple of weeks before Tybee was supposed to come home, we found out from our breeder that she had two girls in a different litter who were blind from birth,” Bates said.

That’s when Bonnie stepped up, agreeing to care for Tybee and one of the blind dogs she later named Keller.

“We trained them from the time they came home that they had to travel together which taught Tybee to lead Keller and Keller to follow Tybee. Tybee never ventured more than 20 yards away from Keller, ever,” Bates said. “This is not a dog that’s just going to arbitrarily run away.”

After filing a police report with the Newberry County Sheriff’s Department, Bates also sought outside help.

“We had a search and rescue bloodhound. They came out the Monday after Tybee went missing.”

That bloodhound traced Tybee’s last steps and determined the trace ended not far past the driveway.

“He didn’t want to tell me but he said, ‘yes, that’s indicating there’s no more of a scent trail to follow,” Bates said.

This was confirmation for Bonnie that Tybee did not just walk away.

“Meaning she didn’t grow wings and fly either. Somebody had to pick her up and put her in a vehicle,” Bates said.

Nearly a month later, Bonnie says she just wants answers.

“The not knowing is the worst. I don’t want to find her dead by the side of the road, but if we did it would be closure. You don’t need her. We need her. Keller needs her. She’s basically lost without Tybee,” Bates said.

The Newberry County Sheriff’s Department says they have done everything they can to locate the dog, including canvassing the neighborhood.

Bonnie is hoping someone who may have seen something will come forward. She’s offering a $1,000 reward for anyone who brings Tybee home – no questions asked.

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