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Another Year Passes in Dogged Pursuit

Until then, Anderson and her husband, David, refuse to give up searching. For two years now, they have placed a daily classified ad in the Times-Dispatch, featuring a small photo of the two dogs and promising a $1,000 reward for their return.

Anderson estimates she has spent thousands of dollars on the ad. At first she ran one with a photograph of each dog, which cost $20 per week. Then she combined the images digitally to reduce the cost to $14. "It's not that great an ad," she says wistfully, "but I had to cut costs somewhere."

Anderson paid for posters, too, as well as ads in other local papers and magazines. The Times-Dispatch and Channel 6 reported on the search in September 2001.

"Thousands" of people have called, Anderson says. Almost all say they have no interest in the money. Many offer the couple another dog — but with four already, plus a menagerie of three cats and three horses, they have to decline.

Others call to report sightings of dogs that look like the missing. The Andersons always investigate, only to find a furry stranger. (They adopted one, however, that they found skulking around at night near the airport.)

Anderson's husband found Wilton and Emily nine years ago in a litter of four puppies abandoned in the middle of a road in Varina, where the couple lives. Both weighed around 50 pounds and were wearing collars and tags when they disappeared. Wilton has long hair and a white spot on his chest, and Emily has short, coarse hair.

The dogs didn't really do much, Anderson says. "One of them would sit up and that's about it." Both, she says, were "shy, lovable, spoiled rotten."

A contractor by trade, Anderson lost her job recently but plans to "keep the ad running for as long as I possibly can," she says.

Why? "'Cause they're my dogs," Anderson says. "'Cause we love 'em."

— Melissa Scott Sinclair

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