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Maya has been missing since Christmas day in Mattoon, Illinois

Have you seen Maya?
Have you seen Maya?
Elahe Golpari, Maya's owner

Maya, an 8.5 pound Shih Tzu, and her family traveled from their home in St. Louis Mo. to Mattoon, Ill. to visit on Christmas Day. What should have been a day filled with happy memories soon turned to tragedy for Maya’s owner, Elahe Golpari.

About 7: P.M. on Christmas night Maya wandered away from the house the family was visiting on Essex Avenue, near Mattoon High School. According to the family, Maya traveled down the train tracks towards the elementary school.

Searchers spotted Maya, on December 28, near Western Street but she disappeared into a nearby field. Maya lives in St. Louis, so she was not familiar with this area, and she was undoubtedly scared and confused.

On December 29, an employee of Clyde’s Animal Hospital stated that she saw a dark blue van near Western Avenue. She saw two men and one of them was carrying a dog from the train tracks and got into the van.

The family believes that because Maya was seen near the train tracks, and by the description of the dog the man was carrying, that this dog was Maya, and she disappeared in this blue van, with the unknown men.

Since Christmas day, the search for Maya has gone nation-wide. The family has placed many ads, flyers have been distributed, vets have been contacted and anything else the family can think of to find their precious Maya. They have even started a Facebook page called “In search of Maya.”

Maya is a small Shih Tzu weighing in at 8.5 pounds. She is a cream and white color and has been spayed. She is 5 years old and described by the family as timid and shy. An amazing thing about Maya is that she understands Spanish and she loves relaxing music.

Though the family has returned to St. Louis, the search for Maya, in and around the Mattoon Ill. area. continues as does the search for this mysterious blue mini-van with the chipped paint around the rear window. There is a $600.00 "no questions asked" reward for Maya’s safe return to her home. Elahe just wants Maya back and is grateful to anyone who has been taking care of her.

It is always a tragedy when a beloved pet is missing, but when one is lost on a day that should be filled with joy and memories, it is even sadder. This precious angel, Maya, is very small and used to being in a warm, loving home. The family is devastated, imagining her being out in the cold, scared and confused.

If you have any information on Maya or the blue mini-van, please contact Maya’s family at 217-273-2976 or by email at Golpari.el@gmail.com. Join Maya’s Facebook page to offer your support and share her photos. Let’s help get Maya back home!

"It breaks my heart to see so many homeless, mistreated or lost pets. I try to do my part to help them, by educating the public in pet health and care. I also help however I can to reunite lost pets with the owners. This article is one way of helping." Donna also writes about pet care from personal experience with her own two fur babies. Subscribe above to follow what she writes or contact her at alternativepethealth@gmail.com