Social media campaign launched for missing dog

Simon was lost in the woods of the Catoctin Mountains near Thurmont on Jan. 19. (Courtesy Photo)

Have you seen Simon?

You might not have met him in person, but there’s a pretty good chance you’ve seen him on Facebook.

Kai Hagen and his family lost Simon, their dog, on Jan. 19 in the woods of the Catoctin Mountains near Thurmont. Desperate to find the beloved pet, Hagen, a former county commissioner, posted Simon’s photo on his Facebook page Jan. 21.

Since then, Simon’s original photo has received more than 2,600 shares, and subsequent posts have been shared hundreds of times — an outpouring of support Hagen never expected when he posted the news of Simon’s disappearance.

“People have just been amazing,” Hagen said in a telephone interview Friday.

One of the Hagens’ supporters is Wendy Bauerlien of Dogs Finding Dogs, a rescue team.

Bauerlien searched the woods for Simon with her bloodhound, Trusty.

Their search was fruitless, but Hagen has not given up. He contacted nearby animal shelters, including Frederick County Animal Control, which is where he adopted Simon four years ago.

“We fell in love with him right away,” Hagen said, noting Simon’s playfulness and friendliness.

Simon was adopted after another family pet died, and his disappearance has left the Hagens heartbroken. They also own two cats, Kitty and Gwen, named after Queen Guinevere of King Arthur’s court, Hagen said.

Simon’s name was chosen by Animal Control, but the family decided not to change it.

“We liked Simon and we kept the name,” Hagen said.

The dog is half hound and “half something else.” He has a muscular build and weighs between 75 and 80 pounds, according to a poster Hagen has added to his Facebook page.

Hagen is offering a $500 reward for the return of Simon, who was last seen wearing a blue collar with brown polka dots and dog tags.

After all the sharing of Hagen’s posts about Simon, his friend Valerie Dale set up a “Simon Needs to Come Home!” Facebook page. The page was started Saturday, and by late afternoon, almost 200 people had joined it.

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