An anonymous donor is offering a $10,000 reward for the safe return of a Labrador service dog in training who went missing in Iowa.
Latham, a black Labrador, is part of the Retrieving Freedom program in Eastern Iowa. The nonprofit trains service dogs for veterans and children with autism.
On Sunday morning, the Lab went missing from his foster family’s farm in Parkersburg.
Jenna Kyhl, Latham’s foster mom, says the Labrador is a well-behaved dog and was set to be the organization’s stud dog – the one used to breed other service dogs.
Jenna desperately wants the pup back.
“I’ve had Latham since he was about seven weeks old,” she said.
Kyhl said she left Latham with her other two dogs outside for about three minutes, and when she came back, he was gone.
“He’s very attentive, if I’m having a bad day, he instantly knows something is wrong,” she said.
Sadly, Kyhl has had a lot of bad days herself.She was recently diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, a disease that eventually causes nerves in the body to deteriorate or become permanently damaged.
“Retrieving Freedom means a lot to me,” she said. “And I’ve been told a million times by them, if anything happens, it’s not my fault. But I feel like it’s my responsibility, I feel really guilty.”
Latham spent many days comforting his foster mom while she was in hospital.
Although the Labrador hasn’t been trained to help with MS yet, it was decided that Latham would be her permanent service dog.
“It would be this huge ability for Jenna to relax,” said Scott Dewey, founder of Retrieving Freedom in Iowa.
He adds that this ordeal is not Jenna’s fault, and he just wants to focus on finding Latham and bringing him home where he belongs.
“And for Jenna to relax, you know, and understand he’s OK, not living forever wondering what happened to him. That’s the part that scares me,” Dewey said.
Kyhl reassures everyone that Latham is extremely friendly and approachable.
A Facebook page dedicated to finding Latham has been set up. If you think you’ve seen Latham, please call Jenna Kyhl at (319) 493-2046, or Scott Dewey, (319) 505-5949.