NORTH PORT — John Seepe had just finished a great day of competitive sailing in Charlotte Harbor.
After arriving back home in North Port, his entry triggered the security alarm, and his 3-pound teacup poodle took off.
“Theo ran off after a rabbit or something just as it was getting dark the evening of April 1,” Seepe said. “He usually runs around in the driveway and then goes back into the house.”
The area where he was last seen was Pocatella Avenue and Sumter Boulevard. There are signs posted around town with a photo of the puppy.
Theo is 9 months old and is not yet microchipped. The couple, snowbirds, had an appointment to get the dog chipped next week when they return to North Carolina.
“We had planned on getting him chipped by our family veterinarian,” Seepe said. “That dog means so much to my wife and I … and we are offering a reward for any leads that result in his recovery.”
Seepe said he felt bad the next day when he was out sailing in the Charlotte Harbor Yacht Club US/Canadian Nationals competition.
“I knew my wife (Michelle) was home looking for him,” he said. “We just bought a house on Pocatella in North Port and the neighbors have been great. They’ve been searching for Theo ever since he ran away.”
Seepe has visited every veterinarian and groomer in the area from Port Charlotte to Venice, and has posted flyers at all the local pet stores.
Theo’s collar tag has his name and phone number on it.
The owners are hopeful that with enough publicity someone will come forward and tell them who might have Theo.
“He’s a very friendly dog,” John said. “He runs toward people, not away from them.”
Seepe is a U.S. Navy veteran who lost his left leg two years ago in a tragic accident involving an Uber Driver on his way to work in California.
A sailor for most of his life, Seepe taught a sailing team for the U.S. Navy in Seattle for several years.
“I gave up on ever sailing again until the America’s Cup Team Stars & Stripes came to where I worked (Virgin Orbit) and took me out sailing,” he said. “This got me back out on the water and trying to do all I can again. Theo has been a great part in keeping us mentally healthy and positive.”
Seepe took fourth place at the Charlotte Harbor Yacht Club US Nationals competition last week in his 14-foot Clagget sailboat, that he was awarded through a grant for disabled sailors.
“It was really so much better than I expected,” he said. “The water was like glass the first day, and very rough on the second day.”
John and Michelle are members of the Charlotte Harbor Yacht Club. Members refer to Theo as the new mascot of the club.
The couple left North Port on Thursday to head back home to North Carolina. They plan to return to Florida in November.
“I believe I’ve done all I can,” John said, regarding his beloved pup. “Some things you just leave up to God.”
If you have any information on where Theo might be, call 336-929-6244 or go to www.lostfoundpets941.com.