This is what happens when someone loses a dog

Scott Andrus of Redding has been looking for his dog, Sassy, who is also his service dog and helps him deal with anxiety.

Scott Andrus lives with anxiety brought on from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

For the past two years he has counted on his loyal dog Sassy for comfort when COPD makes breathing difficult.

But earlier this month Sassy ran away while Andrus was staying at the Good News Rescue Mission in Redding.

Andrus said it has been heart-wrenching to live without his companion, who he said helps calm him when he struggles to breathe.

"I'm walking around here crying, and I don't want people to see me crying, so I'm staying alone," he said.

Andrus and Sassy were staying at the mission on Aug. 14 when Sassy ran away. He tracked her to an alley near the Redding police station off Cypress Avenue and then to the Safeway store on Cypress and Pine Street, he said.

From there he lost track of her.

Scott Andrus of Redding has been posting fliers for his dog, Sassy, who is also his service dog and helps him with anxiety.

He said he has posted fliers of her around the Garden Tract neighborhood near the Safeway. Andrus also has posted photos of Sassy and information about how to reach him on several Facebook pages and other internet sites.

"I'm on every single 'pet lost' board," he said. But since Sassy ran away, Andrus said he is as lost as she is.

"I'm so distraught about it, it's unreal. I can't sleep," he said. Andrus, 56, said he used to repair industrial sewing machines. But there have been a few bumps along the road of his life.

He returned to Redding this year after he lost his home in Washington, and he sometimes lives on the streets.

He has five wounds on his right arm that have scabbed over where he said spiders bit him while he was sleeping on a lawn near the Redding Library.

The wounds haven't healed well because of his hepatitis C, he said. 

He got Sassy, a 2-year-old boxer-pit bull mix, when she was very young and he was living in Federal Way, Washington. She is a medium-sized dog, mostly white, with a brown head and a white stripe down the middle of her face.

Scott Andrus of Redding has been looking for his dog, Sassy, who is also his service dog and helps him with anxiety. She is a boxer-pit bull mix who is mostly white, but has a large brown spot on her back.

She has no tail and has a large brown spot on her back, he said. But it's her personality he misses.

"She's awesome. She loves playing ball, loves playing stick. She loves everybody," he said.

Andrus had planned to teach her to respond to commands in French so she wouldn't respond to commands from other people.

He said he has been focusing his search in the Garden Tract area because a woman with a broken ankle who was sitting on the sidewalk outside the Safeway off Pine Street told him she thinks she saw Sassy in the area.

But Andrus admits his service dog could be anywhere.

He worries someone stole her and wants to have her bred with other dogs. He said he plans to continue to post fliers around Redding and keep checking for her every day at Haven Humane Society.

He wants anyone who has seen her to contact him. Andrus listed two phone numbers on his flier: 530-776-7713 and 253-239-8878. His email address is

When your dog turns up missing

About 150 stray dogs a month are brought into Haven Humane Society's shelter, said Mark Storrey, CEO at Haven.

He said there are several steps people can take when their dog goes missing, including posting on Facebook pages set up for people who have lost pets. There are other internet sites, such as Craigslist.

Haven Humane also posts information about lost pets on its website, he said.

Storrey also suggested coming into Haven's office at 7449 Eastside Road in Redding to fill out a lost dog report. Pet owners should bring a photo and provide a description of the dog.

He also suggested visiting the shelter daily to see if the dog has been brought in by an animal control officer. Pet owners should also visit nearby animal control shelters in Shasta Lake and Red Bluff.

Storrey said there are steps a pet owner can take, before a dog is lost, that can make it easier to find an animal. Those steps include getting a license, buying a tag with the dog's name and the owner's contact information.

He also suggested getting a microchip for the animal, because unlike a collar that can come off the dog, a chip is not easily removed.

An animal control officer can scan a chip in the field and quickly identify the dog's owner, he said.

"I would do it, and all of that is usually going to bring them home," he said.

Damon Arthur is the Record Searchlight’s resources and environment reporter. He is among the first on the scene at breaking news incidents, reporting real time on Twitter at @damonarthur_RS. Damon is part of a dedicated team of journalists who investigate wrongdoing and find the unheard voices to tell the stories of the North State. He welcomes story tips at 530-225-8226 and Help local journalism thrive by subscribing today!