Photo of Leann and Barbie

Jeff Morehead / Photo Editor

BARBIE COME HOME ---- Leann Thompson holds a photograph of her beagle, Barbie, who has been missing since April 25 and is in need of medical treatment. Thompson hopes the reward money donated by the Internet group Beagle Buddies will help bring Barbie back to her.

Searching for lost beagle,
she finds many new friends



When 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 encouragement.

"One of the Beagle Buddies just came up with the idea of donating money for anyone who can find Barbie," Thompson said.

Thompson said she found the Beagle Buddies, an Internet mailing list, through

"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," she said.

"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 said.

"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 support.

"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."

...Diary Calendar...

...Search for Barbie Day 23...