JAMAICA -- Dale Capen is heartbroken. Last month the Jamaica man's home burned to the ground and since then his 5-year-old Plott hound, Roni, has been missing.
Capen said he's had Roni since she was puppy and the tragedy of losing his home has only been made worse by his friend's disappearance.
"She's been away for a long while, I really hope she's all right," he said.
The dog had been spotted along Route 100 the day of the fire and recently in South Londonderry, but no one has been able to catch her, Capen said.
Roni is a medium-sized black and tan dog and was wearing a blue collar. The end of her tail is broken and hangs limp, he said.
Capen, who had been living in one of the upstairs apartments of Mo's Market for the past two years, said he heard loud noises coming from the convenience store at about 2 a.m., on Aug. 21.
"I heard a bunch of commotion, and then the glass popped downstairs in the store," Capen said. "When I opened the door I saw all the smoke and I just stood there in shock."
When he finally gathered himself, Capen said he tried to grab the leashes for Roni and his other dog, Skyley, but a water heater was "jumping up and down" and he was afraid it might explode so he had to leave the leashes behind.
Because the smoke was so thick, Capen said he had to run his hand along the walls to find the way out. He felt Skyley run past him toward the exit and knew Roni was right there too because, as he said, the two dogs went everywhere together.
Eventually he was able to get a hold of Skyley and down the stairs, but he couldn't find Roni and he had to go back into the burning building.
Several of his neighbors and friends were still trying to get out and there were children that needed help getting down the stairs so Capen rushed back up to help them.
By the time everyone was out Capen said he still had Skyley but Roni must have been very scared because she was seen running across Route 100 by one of the firefighters who had arrived on scene.
Roni wouldn't let any of the firefighters approach her, he said.
"She's a really friendly dog, she's just scared," Capen said.
Since the fire, Capen said he's received a few phone calls from people saying they saw Roni in and around South Londonderry. One family even reported they were able to give her food and some water, but Roni ran off again when they tried to approach her.
Capen said he'd like to offer a reward but after the fire destroyed nearly everything he owns, he doesn't have any money to do so.
If anyone has information about the dog or her whereabouts, Capen is asking them to call him at 802-289-1921.