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Sheriff's granddaughter makes 'wanted' poster for lost dogs

Staff writer

Her dogs disappeared, and 6-year-old Iliana Craft wanted to help find them. So she drew signs for her grandfather, Marion County Sheriff Robert Craft, to hand out to deputies, not long after purebred labs, Daisy and Cocoa, went missing early New Years Day.

“We were just coloring together and she drew it all on her own,” Craft said. “It was better than the picture I was coloring.”

Though he didn’t put out an all points bulletin out on the dogs, Craft hung a picture on a notice board in the sheriffs’ department and asked deputies to keep an eye out while performing normal duties.

“We haven’t received any sighting reports since they went missing,” Craft said. “I hope someone finds them. They’re nice dogs.”

Iliana’s sign was one of several “lost dog” posters she drew and wanted to post around the county after the dogs went missing near 230th and Kanza Rds., about a mile west of the reservoir.

Iliana’s dad, USD 408 teacher Shaun Craft, was the last one to see the dogs when he let them outside for their daily exercise.

“I’m not sure what caught their attention,” Shaun’s wife, Melissa, said. “They’re usually more than happy to come back in when it’s so cold.”

Melissa described Daisy as a “timid and cautious” lean yellow lab. At 10 years old, Daisy has a lot of white hair in her coat.

Cocoa is a husky 9-year-old chocolate lab with a lot of white hair on her muzzle the family thinks of as a beard.

“Cocoa is like a bull in a china closet,” Melissa said. “The most danger she’d cause is to knock you over with her massive body and lick you to death.”

Both dogs were wearing orange collars. Since then, they have been posting updates about their search on social media.

Melissa said rural Marion resident Andrea Dunagan, reported seeing two labs matching the description on Nighthawk Rd. between 140th and 150th Sts.

“She even went up and knocked on doors in that area to ask about them,” Melissa said. “That was so kind of her to go completely out of her way to help a stranger.”

The Crafts also responded to sightings of two dogs at Wanda Williams’ house on Sunday, but the dogs in question were not Daisy and Cocoa.

“We’ve had them since they were pups,” Melissa said. “They were the first dogs Shaun and I ever had together. Both Gannon [their 2-year-old boy] and Iliana’s first words as babies were ‘Cocoa and Daisy,’ right after ‘Momma and Dadda’.”

Gannon calls all dogs “Cocoa” now instead of using the word “dog,” she said.

Melissa said they recently relocated Daisy and Cocoa to her parents’ house so the dogs could come in out of the cold at night.

“They’re outside dogs, but they’d only been at my parents for two days, so they don’t know the area,” she said.

Over the weekend, Shaun and Melissa scoured many country roads to no avail.

Though she is very worried about how the aging dogs will fair in the cold, Melissa prefers to think about Daisy and Cocoa as the main characters from the ’90s movie, “Thelma & Louise,” out on the road having the time of their life.

Should anyone spot the doggy duo at large, Melissa encourages people to contact Marion Sheriff’s Department, at (620) 382-2144.

Last modified Jan. 7, 2015

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