Statewide search for blind dog stolen in Rio Rancho

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Paul Rush says he refuses to give up hope, even though it’s been more than two months since his blind dog, “Spot,” was stolen along with his truck outside a hospital parking lot in Rio Rancho.

Rush says overwhelming community support is what’s kept him going, and he’s not just talking about folks in Rio Rancho.

People are working tirelessly to find Rush’s best friend in the East Mountains, Albuquerque, even as far as Farmington, where hundreds of folks are dedicating their time, and resources to search for the missing 18-year-old dog. 

No one is losing hope. 

“They just think you’re going to come back and get in the car with him, and that might not be the case, as in this case,” Rush said. 

KOB 4 first talked to Rush about two months ago, right after he said his truck was stolen from the Sandoval Regional Medical Center parking lot. Spot, his blind and partially deaf Cocker Spaniel, was still inside the truck. 

“Came out at 5:15, and my truck and my dog are gone,” Rush said. “Gosh, I thought I was crazy.  I’m like, I know somebody didn’t steal my truck, it’s a big truck.”

Rush’s search was further complicated by the fact he lives in Texas, but that wasn’t a problem for long. Spot’s story touched hundreds eager to help in any way they could, people like Joyce Lewis, who lives in Tijeras. 

“It’s rather amusing that the first time we meet, we’re also going to be on TV,” said Joyce Lewis. 

And only met Rush for the first time in-person Wednesday.

“I messaged Paul, and asked him if we could have permission to create a flyer for Spot,” said Lewis. “It was thought that Spot had been seen in the Big-I area.”

She made a second flyer when a more recent tip placed Spot back in Rio Rancho.

“Between those two flyers, it reached almost 105,000 people,” Lewis said. 

Karen Gates joined the search for Spot all the way from Farmington. She created Spot’s own Facebook group, after a post she shared on the Rio Rancho Crime Watch page was shared more than 700 times.

“I started the GoFundMe that helped him with his costs, and there was a lot more in his truck that was stolen when Spot was stolen,” said Gates. “The people have just really surprised me. It’s been wonderful.”

A silver lining during a tiresome search.

“I’m not gonna think that that’s the worst, you know? We’re still in hope,” said Rush. 

“Maybe there is still a miracle out there,” said Lewis. 

If you see Spot or have any info on where he might be, call (424)-653-0745 or (505)-544-1170. People interested in helping can also visit the Searching for Spot Facebook page.

On Wednesday, Rio Rancho Police Department says they have no leads, or suspects.