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Autistic boy pleads for return of missing dog

MAYS LICK, Ky. (Angenette Levy) -- A 9-year-old boy has lost his best friend.

Landen Padgett's dog, Bella, disappeared on Sunday afternoon.  Bella was in the process of being certified as a therapy dog for Landen. He has Asperger's Syndrome.
"The last thing we saw was Bella sitting by her dog house with her chain on. When we went back out a few hours later and she was gone," said Summer Padgett, Landen's mother.
Bella's collar is still attached to her tie-out on the family's deck. She was playing with children in the yard on Parker Ln. It started to snow and the family put her back on the tie-out. They noticed she was missing several hours later. Landen talked about why he loves Bella so much.
"Because she is fun and she likes to wrestle with me," Landen said.
Asperger's Syndrome is a disorder on the Autism spectrum. Children with Asperger's can have difficulty developing relationships with people. Summer Padgett said Bella has helped her son deal with his social skills.
"This was a way for him to open up and to learn how to show compassion and to show love. He doesn't allow us to touch him, hug on him, kiss on him but he does Bella.  And this has just opened him up to a totally different child," Padgett said.
Summer Padgett has posters of Bella hanging around Mays Lick and Maysville. She's gone door-to-door searching for Bella and has a posting about her on Facebook. There have been some sightings but no one has tried to catch her because they haven't realized she was missing until hours later.
"She has been seen in this area. My fear is that someone has just taken her," Summer said. She added, "Some people just think oh, it's a dog. You can get another dog. Getting a dog that can connect with a special needs child the way that Bella has is a rare find."  
Landen hopes someone can help bring his best friend home soon.
"Bring her to us if you get her," Landen said.
Bella is a black lab mix with a white chest, paws and white hair on her chin.
Anyone who finds her or catches her can reach the Padgetts at 606.407.1678.

Follow Angenette Levy on Twitter @angenette5 and LIKE her on Facebook




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