UPDATE: Scooby the Great Dane was rescued Monday morning by the Atascosa County Sheriff's Office. Scooby has been reunited with his owner, the department says.
Scooby the Great Dane helped ease Tim Overgaard’s anxiety. The 22-year-old who once served in the U.S. Coast Guard said his dog made him feel better.
“Newly paralyzed, I didn’t like going out,” Overgaard said. “I felt like everyone was watching me. But with Scooby, there they were looking at the dog.”
Overgaard spends his days at a nursing home in Seguin. He is paralyzed from the middle of his chest to the bottom of his feet.
A motorcycle accident on August 6, 2017 changed his life forever.
“Just driving and a truck didn’t see me. Turned into my lane,” he said.
Overgaard slid into a curb. From as much as he can recall of the crash, his neck twisted on impact.
A friend who was following him administered CPR, but the major damage had been done.
Doctors told Overgaard he could possibly walk again in 16 to 18 months. That’s when he got Scooby. But Overgaard fell in his wheelchair in another accident, and he's been in the nursing home ever since.
Finances got tight, so he and his fiancé, Amber Blanchard, found someone to foster Scooby, but that ended too. Blanchard said the woman who fostered their dog recommended the Little Texas Rescue Ranch in Rossville.
“It was a time crunch. We were desperate,” Blanchard said.
Blanchard was feeling so elated that she forgot to do her homework on the rescue. Text messages from her phone show she had communicated with an alleged volunteer of the rescue named Olivia.
The volunteer told 21-year-old Blanchard the rescue could accommodate the dog. The texts even show the person was willing to work with Blanchard on the boarding fees.
“'You don’t have to drive all the way out where I am,'” Blanchard recalled telling her.
The person directed her to 12425 FM 476 in Somerset. According to Blanchard, it was an old church building. A teenage girl on a cell phone was waiting on her.
“I pull up. She’s sitting on the curb and she says, 'I live down the road,'” Blanchard remembered.
She said goodbye to Scooby and watched the girl walk away. Blanchard said nothing about the girl spoke danger.
But, she says, the red flags were obvious in hindsight.
Blanchard left with no paperwork and no address for the facility. Olivia did promise updates on Scooby, but those haven't come.
In fact, Overgaard and Blanchard said their calls, texts and attempts to reach the rescue went unanswered for nearly a week. An adult woman who claimed to be a volunteer answered the number Olivia used.
“She was like, 'You gave your dog to a child,'” Overgaard said. “She said, 'Everybody’s got problems. Goodbye.'"
The couple say they now believe the girl was a front for an illegitimate operation that flips dogs.
KENS 5 tried to reach the animal rescue, but no one returned our phone calls or texts. The facility has no physical address on record. There was no sign of the rescue listed with the Better Business Bureau or as a nonprofit for the Internal Revenue Service.
Blanchard said she contacted the same numbers for the Little Texas Rescue Ranch under another name, asking if they could board a dog. She said the response was yes, but the conversation fell off after asking if she could tour the grounds.
“Bring my dog back,” Overgaard said. “That’s all I want.”
The couple filed a report with the Atascosa County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff David Soward said his deputies have just started to look into the matter.