PATERSON, New Jersey (WABC) -- A New Jersey family is searching desperately for their missing dog who is a constant companion to a little boy.
They are trying to find Brownie, a beloved Shih Tzu who has been missing since Saturday, and his owner is in tears.
Seven-year-old Jacob Rodriguez has muscular dystrophy. His uncle bought him the sweet dog back in November and since then the two have become inseparable.
They play together and sleep together. Jacob's mother says Brownie makes Jacob laugh and helps him gets more physical exercise.
"This is something that was helping him a lot, he was happy, he was running around more, he was playing," said his mother Jazmine Crespo. "He had a smile on his face when he came out of school."
The dog was let outside in the backyard on Saturday. When the mother got home from her own medical treatment, Brownie was gone.
The family fears the 7 pound, 7-month-old puppy may have escaped through the gate.
They have put up fliers and searched. But so far, no sign of their furry friend
"We just beg them to please bring Brownie home because Jacob is very hurt," said Crespo.
Paterson's Animal Control office is now offering a $500 reward for the dog's return.
"Bring the dog to the animal shelter, do what's right so Jacob can get his dog back. It's just sad, it rips you apart to see this happen," said John DeCando of the Paterson Animal Control officer.
The family fears someone might have picked up the dog thinking Brownie was a stray.
He did not have a tag, yet he's an important part of their family. Young Jacob is due for more surgery next month and is fearful about going through the ordeal without his companion.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Paterson animal shelter at 973-881-3640.
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Beloved dog of 7-year-old Paterson boy with muscular dystrophy goes missing