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Sniper, service dog for Theresa woman with lupus, is missing

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THERESA — Sniper, a 2-year-old service dog belonging to Patty A. Forbes, has been missing since Friday.

Mrs. Forbes said the black and tan, long-haired German shepherd helps her with the effects of lupus, a medical condition she has had for more than a decade.

“He’s never left the farm before,” she said.

The Forbes family lives on a 60-acre farm on River Road, also known as County Route 46. Sniper occasionally would roam around the family’s dairy goat barn when someone was near him, or he’d stay with Mrs. Forbes as she attended to farm chores, she said.

When her lupus is active, Mrs. Forbes said, she has trouble with fine motor skills and her joints are sore.

“He calms me and, if we’re walking and I get unsteady, he helps me,” she said. “If I were to fall in the barn, he’d keep the [animals] from coming to me.”

According to the Lupus Foundation of America, Mrs. Forbes is one of about five million people worldwide who have the chronic, autoimmune disease. It can damage any part of the body, and symptoms may last longer than six weeks and even for many years. The body cannot tell the difference between healthy tissue and viruses, bacteria and germs. As a result, healthy tissue is attacked. Antibodies then cause the inflammation and pain that people such as Mrs. Forbes occasionally experience. She said medication helps “put everything in check.”

She got Sniper, her first service dog, when he was nine months old from a breeder out West, and trained him mostly on her own.

Anyone who spots Sniper is asked to call Mrs. Forbes at 783-0836.

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