Lost and found

More people offering rewards for missing items

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A $500 reward is being offered for Sydney, an australian shepherd that has been missing for months and has been spotted across North Idaho. Sydney is among a number of lost pets and items for which owners are currently offering sizable rewards.

The Quality Inn parking lot had already become a sobering scene for Rachel Walters and Jesse Hehn.

After six years together, Walters had stood with Hehn there and handed back the engagement ring "for good" on July 26, she said.

Hehn accepted it, and placed it in his pocket. Or so he thought.

"Apparently it didn't go into the pocket, but went onto the parking lot," Walters said, a realization Hehn had made that evening.

"My heart sank," she said of when he told her days later.

They've since returned to the Sandpoint lot together many times, scouring for hours for the ring Walters said had enveloped their history together, that they had invested so much time in and spent upward of $8,000 to get just right.

Realizing it might be in someone else's hands now, they placed what they hope will be an appealing classified ad in The Press and the Bonner County Daily Bee, stating that the ring is "not sellable... Reward if found."

Walters said the message should at least pique a typical interest.

"I think people instead of holding onto it would rather have cash, if they knew they couldn't get cash for the ring," the 25-year-old Sandpoint resident said.

If people have some spare time to go looking, they could really rake it in these days.

Lately the Press classifieds are crammed with folks offering rewards of up to hundreds and thousands of dollars for items and critters they have loved and lost. Included are myriad pets, wedding and engagement rings, an aluminum ramp. The pleas for help stem from across North Idaho.

In most cases, the offered reward reflects desperate love for the lost prize, and sadly rational belief in a common motivator.

Even if the resolutions aren't happy, most owners say, they're at least aiming for closure, for peace of mind.

Walters, who said the ring can't be sold because of specific etching on the diamonds, said the jewelry just has too much history to let go, especially of she and Hehn picking it out together.

"Getting it back means more than what it's worth," said Walters, who can be reached at 597-2759.

Offering a $500 reward seemed necessary on top of posting 1,500 fliers in the search for Australian shepherd Sydney, said Kate Turner.

"Sometimes people are just motivated by money. If they found the dog and kept it, maybe they'd rather have the money than the dog," said Turner, who runs the Bonners Ferry kennel that Sydney ran away from in April.

The reward, posted for weeks in The Press, reflects the devotion of owners Howard and Deb Nusbaum, Turner added. They had repeatedly driven from Hope to Turner's kennel, she said, so their dog could stay at a rural facility and receive special attention.

Deb said the couple isn't willing to give up on the dog they have cherished for eight years.

"I liken it to if you were to have lost a child, though it's not nearly like that. She's just a member of our family," Deb said. "We love her and miss her so, and we just keep hoping she will make her way home."

It was unlike the red-and-white dog to dash off before a walk like she did that day months ago, Turner said, adding that the dog kept running into the woods when Turner drove after her.

"I've been doing this professionally for 16 years, and it's just a real fluke," she said.

Still often receiving calls of Sydney sightings, the three have placed ads in newspapers across North Idaho, knocked on doors and driven around searching.

They even sought advice from animal psychics, Turner said, to no avail.

"We're not giving up hope," she said, encouraging anyone to call 290-3595 with information. "That she's still alive, that's our hope."

Myra and Skip Caldwell, meanwhile, are offering a reward in The Press classifieds for an aluminum ramp.

Unusual, maybe, but the tool is imperative for their favorite pastimes, Myra said.

Devoted to four-wheeling for 25 years, the couple uses the ramp, 11 feet long extended and 5 1/2 feet folded up, to load and unload their two-seated Rhino four wheeler, she explained.

"We just love the outdoors, and a bunch of our friends have those Rhinos, too, and different quads, and we all enjoy going out together and going for a ride," said Myra, a Pinehurst resident. "We both have bad backs and knees, so we can't ride regular four wheelers. (Skip) goes hunting with it, because he can't walk much anymore. It's fun."

It was after completing a drive to St. Maries last Friday for a four-wheeling jaunt that they realized the ramp had fallen out of the pickup, Myra said.

"We're hoping someone will turn it in," she said, adding that they don't know where it would be, except somewhere between Pinehurst and St. Maries.

They're offering a $50 reward, which the couple prefers to forking over $200 for a new ramp, Myra reasoned.

Anyone with information can reach the couple at 682-3894.

"We're hoping for them to put themselves in our place, how would they feel? Wouldn't they want someone to return it to them?" Myra said.

Some missing cases work out on their own.

Fred Evans said it was only natural to offer a reward for the family's ever-present Siberian husky, Lex, after the dog bolted out the front door last Monday and didn't return.

Although Lex hadn't quite come through on the breeding purposes he'd been purchased for as a pup, he had become part of the Smelterville family, Evans said, even learning to respond to most verbal commands.

"You can tell he loves you. He'll understand you," Evans said of why the family promised a reward after hunting for Lex on the highways.

No payout was necessary in the end. Lex showed up on Sunday, generally healthy, Evans said, though dehydrated, stiff and caked in mud.

Recuperating now, the canine is back to providing a comforting presence in the house, Evans said.

Worth every cent they would have doled out for his return.

"We're glad he's home," Evans said. "Because we love him."

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