BY ASSISTANT CITY EDITOR
Leann Thompson's pet beagle, Barbie ran away about 2 1/2 weeks
ago, Thompson, 31, put an ad in the newspaper, then turned to
friends as far away as England for support.
But members of the Beagle Buddies, a close-knit Internet community
of beagle owners, ended up sending her more than just words of
"One of the Beagle Buddies just came up with
the idea of donating money for anyone who can find Barbie,"
Thompson said she found the Beagle Buddies, an Internet
mailing list, through e-groups.com.
"You sign up, then you receive email from anyone
who submits to the group," she said.
Jamie Valmont, Phoenix, is heading up the fund-raising efforts.
"It took less than two days for all these people to say they
would (donate). Within four days, the money started coming in,"
"Right now, we're at $975, and it's still growing," she
said last week.
One member offered to front the money to send to Thompson, Valmont
"We just wanted to get the money to her as soon as possible,"
she said. "(Thompson) has been searching so hard for Barbie."
And she's not the only one.
"Martha Ingram, she's about 70 (years old) -- she's been looking
for her about every day," Thompson said. "She saw the
ad in the paper. She said she saw a beagle running near Highland
Bridge, so she's been searching in that area."
Thompson has had several other responses to her ads.
"I've had people call and say 'Hey, I saw a beagle.' But not
any of them have been Barbie."
And members of Beagle Buddies continue to offer Thompson their
"We've become almost a family," Valmont said. "This
is the first time we've banded together.
One of our members actually is driving (4 hours) up there (Marion)
this weekend. ... If all of us could fly there and help her search,
we would do it."