Owner Doggedly Hunts For Missing Pet

Pups Are 'Our Kids,' Says Distraught Man

March 20, 1991|By Angela Gambill | Angela Gambill,Staff writer

Bob Fischbach's dog is lost, and so is he.

The burly, mustachioed 43-year-old sits at his desk and pulls open two side drawers, each lined with pastel blankets.

Then he cries like a baby.

Usually, two Yorkshire terrier pups nap on either side of Fischbach at the Arbutus glass company he owns. Not today.

The space has been empty for more than a week, since one of Fischbach's four dogs disappeared from his Ferndale home. He hasn't had the heart to bring the other dogs to work at his company, Beltway Glass and Mirrors.

"Me and the wife, we don't have no kids," says Fischbach, a 6-footer wearing blue jeans and a plaid shirt. "Our kids are our dogs."

Fischbach and his wife, Sonja, have spent $1,500 in eight days advertising to find their lost dog.

"Subconsciously, though I love them all, he's a daddy's boy," says Fischbach.

"He's shy of people. I hope he's not too shy to go to someone for food, if he's out there and hungry.

"I feel as though I would put up $1,000 to get him back. We don't care what it costs," Fischbach says.

Even a tip -- if it leads to the dog's recovery -- is worth $500 to the couple.

The tousled-haired Yorkie, Benjamin, disappeared a week ago during a wedding shower at the Fischbach's home in Maple Glen Estates.

Because the dog is shy and never has roamed, the Fischbachs believe he may have been stolen.

"But maybe he did run off; he's such a little boy," says Fischbach.

Every morning since Ben disappeared, his owner has arisen an hour early to drive around the neighborhood, seeking his lost dog.

At night, the grieving "father"looks again. And each day, he calls several Humane Societies to see if they've picked up any dead Yorkies.

In one week, the Fischbachs placed $1,200 in advertisements at area papers.

They've spent another $275 having fliers printed, and they've distributed more than a thousand around the area.

But still no Ben.

"I just can't find him," says Fischbach, and his voice gets shaky.

How to explain this sort of devotion?

Fischbach can't, really, he says.

"They're my kids," he says helplessly. He pulls out formal portraits of the dogs, done abouta year ago. He tells stories about Ben's birth, like any proud papa.

"We literally had to pull him out of (the mother). We had to cut the sac so he could breathe. He's (now) a 10-pounder, she's a 5-pounder," he says.

He tells about acquiring the first Yorkie, and after that a mate, then the two having offspring, Benjamin and Nina.

He shows pictures of the big-eyed dogs wearing party hats.

His wife is "overly protective" of the dogs, Fischbach says. Theysleep in bassinets. They accompany him to work.

"They're spoiled brats, can't wait to get out of the house. It's a'Who's going to go with daddy' thing."

Here he pauses again, remembering Ben.

When Fischbach goes into the workroom, a dog stands on his back paws and watches through a glass door.

"When you and the wife don't have children, the only children you end up having are animals," he muses.

"You bring them up and they adapt to you so much. He's hung around with me much more than other ones have. When I go to the shop to work,he hangs on me. He won't go outside unless I'm there."

In his searches of the past week, Fischbach has found other stray dogs. "I've searched and searched, and people have called me and said, 'I think I've seen your dog.' But it wasn't him yet.

"If somebody's picked him up, I hope they would know he belongs to somebody."

Fischbach says he'll keep advertising, though not as extensively as this week.

"I'm getting very bewildered," he says sadly.

"I don't know what else to do. I wonder what a detective would do. I'm desperate. That'smy kid, and it's my responsibility to get him back."

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