Imagine coming home from a long day at work to find the presents you bought for your young children missing and the house eerily silent, the yips and barks of your dog suspiciously absent. This is exactly what happened to 33-year-old Melody Russell of Tampa, Florida, on December 23. 

The single mother of 7-year-old Marissa and 5-year-old Marcus returned from her job as a property manager to find that thieves had stolen all the gifts she’d worked hard to provide gone from her home and the family’s 12-week-old Shih Tzu, Honey, missing. 

While Christmas was saved for the Russell family by the Tampa Police Department, who chipped in to replace the presents for young Marissa and Marcus, nothing can remedy the heartbreak over their missing furry family member. 

According to Lieutenant Yvette Flynn of the Tampa Police Department, young Marissa cried for hours over her missing friend, despite having a pile of Christmas presents to play with. Flynn said she is unsure whether the thieves stole the dog or if Honey ran off during the burglary, but officers were issued a picture and description of the dog and spent the night of the 23rd combing the area for her. 

“People ask me why this was so important,” Flynn told the New York Daily News. “We go into these neighborhoods every day. These are our kids. If there’s a need in the community it affects us.”

Honey was not yet microchipped, having been gotten shortly before the holiday season. While the family still holds out hope for Honey’s return, young Marissa has some wise words for Honey’s captors: “Make sure you take care of her. You feed her, you take her for walks, you clean up after her and love her like she’s your family.”

Source: New York Daily News, Tampa Bay Times

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