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Published: Sunday, 3/16/2008

Is dog hunt in Toledo barking up wrong tree?

It would be seriously disingenuous to begin this column without first 'fessing up: If my dog jumped the fence and ran away from home, I would be beside myself.

I'd be a sobbing mess. I've had dogs all my life, but this one - a 16-pound dachshund with lots of attitude - has a hold on me like none other. Truly, I am besotted with this brash hound.

And I, too, would do just about anything to find him.

But with full disclosure out of the way, let me say that I think we've all learned something important about ourselves last week.

It's official - Toledo is a Dog City.

For one thing, our county has a dog warden who's always making noise about vicious dogs, while you hardly ever hear anyone official address the widespread cat problems.

Then, not so long ago, there was all that business about the mayor's dog (and best friend/office confidant) being "evicted" from city hall.

And now, we've put a happy ending on the Tale of the Missing Mutt. But this wouldn't be much of a story ("lost dog" notices are a dime a dozen) had it not originated in city hall.

Bob Reinbolt - the mayor's chief of staff - had e-mails arriving in practically every city computer inbox (and media outlet) asking for help to find his pooch.

From The Blade's Friday story:

"•'Am I using my position? Sure," Mr. Reinbolt said yesterday.

"•'But I am going to do everything possible so we can get her back.'•"

Lots of debate around town about whether Mr. Reinbolt abused his power, but frankly, I was relieved. It showed the guy was human, and that's news.

For years, Hizzoner's chief of staff has given even casual city-hall observers reason to ponder that very question. But we are now reassured: Bob Reinbolt is a guy who wuvs his doggy woggy.

And Jason Carter and I agreed, when we spoke Friday, that dogs deserve our love.

"I respect the man trying to find his lost dog," Mr. Carter said. "I understand there may be a personal thing, and the dog may be like family."

But Mr. Carter is also searching for something - er, someone. As of Friday, he had the distinction of having filed the most recent "missing person" report with Toledo police.

Early Friday morning, the 27-year-old man reported Troy Martin, his 15-year-old foster son, missing. Mr. Carter said the boy, who has lived with him coming up on two years, is "one of the nicest kids you could know."

He's also run away before.

"He just has some things he's dealing with," Mr. Carter said. "He's a respectful kid, yet he's dealing with some issues that he just kinda wants to figure out on his own."

Mr. Carter heard about the citywide search for Mr. Reinbolt's dog on the news later on the day he reported Troy missing.

"The dog may be like family," he allowed, "but it's not as important as another human being. A child."

Be that as it may, I'm guessing no city official sent out any e-mails about any missing kids.

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