Continued from “Mack’s a runner“. In the previous installment of Mack’s story, he’d escaped his owners, rewards had been offered and raised, and Rough Road Rescue had gotten involved in the search.
I previously posted a screenshot of a Facebook post made by Steve Svehla himself, Christmas Eve, pleading for the public’s help to bring Mack home.
And I quote, “If someone knows his whereabouts please call Jamie or the rescue. He needs to be back with the kids for Christmas. Thank you, Steve.”
Here’s a the screenshot for those who wish to argue the details.
Later that day, the reward was boosted to $500.00.
And just hours after that reward increased, a man commented on Rough Road Rescue’s Facebook page, stating that he had Mack. He lived in the area where Mack had escaped from the animal control officer, shortly after he’d originally gone missing.
I was not on Facebook at the time the comment was made. Nor do I know how long that comment was visible to the public after the man made it. What I do know is that a friend contacted me, knowing we were all on this big hunt for Mack, and asked if I had seen the man’s comment on the rescue’s Facebook page.
I had not and immediately logged into Facebook to see for myself.
For those who don’t realize it, I was a board member for the rescue at the time all of this went down. Not only was I a concerned animal lover, it was the rescue I represented handling this matter, and long time friends of mine running the show. My concern at this point was all over the place.
Once logged in to Facebook I searched the rescue’s page for the comment about someone having Mack. I found nothing. I searched every post about Mack. No comments showed up about anyone finding him.
So I called my friend back. They were sure of what they had seen. While we were on the phone together we both looked for the comment. It was gone. As a matter of fact, the whole post by the rescue that the comment was on, was gone too.
I immediately hung up with my friend and called the rescue. Linda answered. I could tell she was hurried and a little frantic. Yes, someone had contacted them, yes the man thought he had Mack, and Steve was on his way to go check it out, and she would call me back when she knew more.
So I waited.
12:05 a.m. Christmas morning. I got the text from Linda to let me know it was indeed Mack that the man had and that Steve had picked him up. Mack was at the rescue.
I’ll just let you read the text messages between Linda and I. You can see in the messages where it all went South.
I put the phone down and waited to hear back from Linda. I was stunned.
I knew Jamie likely hadn’t seen the comments because it was Christmas Eve night, and most people like Jamie, who have a half a dozen children, don’t spend the night before Christmas hanging out on social media.
Why would Steve want those posts and comments deleted? Why shouldn’t Jamie see them and know her dog had been found? Why hadn’t Steve or Linda just called her to tell her “Yay! We found Mack!” Why was Steve and Linda making a kennel ready for Mack when he should be going home to his family?
Why was Mack not going home for Christmas?
I had plenty of questions and waiting for Linda’s next message seemed like an eternity.
At 1:40 a.m. I get the text. “We got Mack. You Up?”
I called Linda immediately. By then the questions were spilling out.
Linda said Steve didn’t want Jamie to know about Mack right away because Mack was “in bad shape.” When I asked how bad, the only symptoms Linda said he had was a limp and he was thin.
“Well of course he was thin,” I said, he’d been gone for a week. No telling how long he’d gone with out food. As far as the limp we agreed that it was probably nothing serious but something that both Steve and Linda thought should be looked at.
I agreed that Mack should be looked at by a vet, no doubt. But the first order of business was to get him back to his family. Jamie could have him seen at a vet as soon as the rescue could. Why not take him home and let Jamie take him to the vet? When Linda objected, so did I, and pretty soon Steve was on the phone.
I repeatedly expressed my objection, but nothing doing, Steve was going to keep Mack at the rescue until he seen a vet, and that was that. He said they would contact Jamie later that morning and work out the details on the vet and when to get Mack back home.
The called ended. I wasn’t at all happy about it but assumed that Steve would call Jamie and they would get it all worked out.
The holidays are a busy time for everyone and time got away from me. Neither Steve nor Linda mentioned anything more about Mack over the coming few weeks. A close relative of Linda’s passed away shortly after Christmas and it was understandable that she needed some time to mourn and take care of many things outside of the rescue.
I sent Linda an email in January, just to see if there was anything that I could do and she replied on the 15th.
Late that evening I glanced over the email to see what needed to be done, posted a few images of the dogs online, and called it a night. Something about the email seemed a little off and left me unsettled. I just couldn’t put my finger on it.
The following day I noticed a Facebook post in my feed made by Jamie. I hadn’t had contact with her since Dec. 24. The post wasn’t specific but something in it made my hair stand up. I sent her a private message.
“Jamie, I know this is going to sound stupid, but did you get Mack back?” I asked.
I almost fell out of my chair at her response.
“No,” she said. “Steve and Linda were going to call to set up times to work with getting him back but I haven’t heard from them.”
“Did you call them?” I asked. “Did you go out to the rescue?”
“I don’t understand,” Jamie said.” I’ve tried, they said I’d have to schedule a time because they’ve been gone a lot lately. And when I tried to schedule he said Linda would call me back.”
I was livid.
What had happened was so incredibly wrong in my mind that words cannot describe how I was feeling. To find out that Mack was still at the rescue three weeks after he was found was unbelievable.
And that’s what I hadn’t been able to put my finger on in Linda’s last email. She’d said, “I don’t know what Steve’s plans are with Jack but we still have…” Why hadn’t I caught that?
Jamie and I chatted on instant messaging for a bit and the more questions I asked the more upsetting it all became.
The gist of the conversation was that Steve and Linda were giving Jamie the run around about getting Mack back. Steve had convinced Jamie that they had repossessed Mack and she no longer had any rights to him. Jamie had tried to contact the rescue many times and they weren’t returning her calls. She was sending them private messages on Facebook only to get flippant answers and put off at every avenue.
I explained to Jamie that by law, Mack still belonged to her and she should go to the rescue to collect Mack as soon as possible.
I wanted answers, so I called the rescue.
As usual, I got the answering machine and so I left a message. I told Steve I wanted to ask him some questions and to call me back as soon as possible.
An hour or so later, the phone rang. It was Steve.
I cannot recall the idol chit chat in the first few seconds of that call, but I distinctly remember my first question to Steve.
“Why in the f*** is Mack still at the rescue?”
Additional information will be posted in the coming days. Please check the bottom of the post “In search of Mack” for new additions to Mack’s story and continuing timeline.