By Janet McAfee

It is a pet lover’s worst nightmare when your beloved dog goes missing. You don’t know if he or she is dead or alive. You worry about her well-being….is she being cared for, is she being fed? Does she miss her family? Was she picked up by someone out of the area? The case of 8-year-old Bonita takes on an urgency as she was recently diagnosed with a neurological issue and placed on medication. She has a slight tilt to her head at various times, a symptom that the person who found her may or may not notice

Bonita went missing from her family’s home in La Quinta on the morning of October 7, between 8:30 and 9:00am. The family was tired after the late night before at the emergency vet clinic with their other dog and did not see her slip out the door. She vanished into her La Quinta neighborhood near Eisenhower and Calle Tampico streets. It’s a busy traffic area, with many residents heading to work and nearby shops in Old Town.

Her family is doing everything possible to find their beloved Shih Tzu. They can barely sleep and spend many hours daily canvassing and passing out over 1,000 flyers. Bonita escaped without her collar and ID tag, however she is microchipped, and has a small green tattoo indicating where she was spayed. She is a tiny 6-pound pup, sweet natured, and of a highly popular breed.


If she had been hit by a car, animal control officers would scan for a microchip and contact the owner. All shelters also scan for microchips upon entry. We are left to conclude Bonita was likely picked up by someone walking around or driving through the area. The finder is likely a Good Samaritan wanting to help a stray dog particularly given the danger of traffic and hot weather. Anyone finding a stray dog can take it to a veterinary clinic to have it scanned for a microchip at no cost, however not all finders know about this.

Her family has done just everything possible to find their beloved pup. Her photo is on,, Facebook missing pet sites. Her flyer has gone to postal workers, neighborhood children, community bulletin boards, vet clinics and grooming salons. They are consulting with popular pet psychic Cherie Vergini who is now assisting. Dozens of friends and family members are helping in the search.

Someone out there knows something about Bonita. Someone has a friend or relative with a new dog. Someone has seen Bonita at a dog park or on a morning walk through the neighborhood. There is a $600 reward for the return of Bonita or for information leading to her safe return. Bonita may have been picked up and is now in another city. She may be inside a La Quinta home nearby from where she escaped. We pray the people who have her will eventually learn about how microchipping can create a happy reunion. We pray the people who have her will learn about the ongoing search for the adorable dog they found and bring her back.

Contact Gabriella at (760) 989-3876 or her daughter Abigail at (760) 534-6951 if you have any information. Abigail pleads, “We just want Bonita back. We can barely sleep at night because we know we have to be out there with flyers early every morning.” The situation is dire as Bonita needs further medical treatment that she may now not receive.

Please share her flyer that is on my Facebook page (Janet McAfee, I’m the one with the dog!). Share her photo and flyer in your neighborhood through as Bonita could be in your community!



  1. Be sure to have a current photo of your dog in case he gets lost or stolen. Make sure he is microchipped with the registration information is current.
  2. The quickest way to get your pet returned is to have him collared with an ID tag with a cell phone number engraved, available at Petco and PetSmart.
  3. Make flyers with your pet’s picture, location and date of disappearance, and your phone number.
  4. A post on www.NextDoor.comwill send out your missing pet information to thousands of residents in your community.
  5. A post on www.PawBoost.comwill go out to hundreds more animal lovers.
  6. Contact your local public animal shelter, and recontact them again as he could show up days or weeks later, www.rcdas.orgin Riverside county.
  7. Contact local private animal shelters and ask for their assistance in the search.
  8. A baited trap may work if you are in a rural area, or if your dog is skittish and unlikely to come to someone, but you must monitor.
  9. Go door to door in your neighborhood with flyers. Most friendly missing pets are within blocks of their home.
  10. Post flyers at vet clinics, dog groomers, pet stores, and on community bulletin boards such as Starbucks.
  11. Post on Facebook and TAG other Facebook friends to expand your search.
  12. Post on the many Facebook pages dedicated to finding missing pets, i.e. “LOST AND FOUND PETS IN THE COACHELLA VALLEY”
  13. Attract attention by posting a REWARD, NO QUESTIONS ASKED, to your flyers and postings.
  14. Check Craig’s list pet section to determine if someone is offering your pet for sale.
  15. Organize a search party with family and friends and provide everyone with lots of flyers.
  16. Contact pet psychic Cherie Vergini who may be able to provides leads by phone, (818) 577-5247. I know some of her success stories.
  17. Notify postal workers, gardeners, tree trimmers and others who work outside in your community.
  18. Neighborhood children are a good source of information, make sure they get flyers.