When Pam and David Crandall returned home from anywhere, their dog, Taffy, would greet them.
"She'd usually do a dance, get on her hind legs and wag her tail because someone was coming home to greet her," Pam Crandall said.
On Monday, there was no dance and no wagging tail.
That day, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., the Crandalls' home, in the 5100 block of Edmondson Ave., was burglarized. Stolen were a stereo system, video cassette recorder, jewelry box, the contents of a refrigerator and freezer and Taffy, a 11-year-old Bichon Frise who is practically blind.
Taffy, who weighs about 15 pounds, is well-known beyond the Crandall family as the poster dog for the city's Pets on Wheels program. The program, sponsored by the Baltimore City Foundation and the city Commission on Aging and Retirement Education, involves people taking their pets into nursing homes to "share" them with patients there.
From 1985 to 1987, Taffy visited nursing home patients as part of the program. The Crandalls stopped taking her because of her increasing age and failing eyesight. The picture on the poster, taken by David Crandall, is of Taffy and a patient, Marie Fox.
"I cry at night," said Pam Crandall, 32, a computer technician for the state. "I constantly think about her. When you live with somebody for 10 years, and suddenly they are gone, it's a loss.
"The last time I saw her, I gave Taffy a dog biscuit and we left for work. She was sitting there chewing her treat."
The couple and the Southwestern District police officer who's handling the case said they have no clues as to why someone would steal the dog.
"I think it's very sad that people would do this thing to an animal, especially to one that's old," said David Crandall, 50, a medical photographer. "I can't imagine why someone would take a dog in a burglary."
Especially a dog who has cataract problems. "In humans, she'd be considered legally blind," David Crandall said.
The Crandalls have had the small white dog for close to 10 years. Pam Crandall's mother got it from a city pound. The Crandalls say Taffy is "a people's dog" who loves to "lick coffee from a cup" and is "a fanatic about wrapping paper during Christmas time."
The friendly dog even got along well with the couple's three cats. The pets are like the children the Crandalls never had, Pam Crandall said.
Dennis Hill, a city police spokesman, said he's heard of dogs being stolen from their yards, but said "it's unusual for dogs to be taken from inside a house."
What's not unusual is the Crandalls' optimism that they'll be reunited with Taffy. If anyone has any information about the dog, call them at 947-5236. David Crandall said today the family is offering a reward for Taffy's return.