Bear the Beagle was meant to be a heartwarming holiday gift for Christa Barkdoll's two school-age daughters.
Barkdoll rescued Bear after hearing about his plight -- he was the only dog left in a litter of 12, and he was living outdoors in rural Missouri with only a small doghouse shanty to protect him from the elements.
"We have a soft spot for animals," Barkdoll said, adding her three-year-old Golden Retriever, Cubby, could have used a new playmate, too.
So Barkdoll decided to take the pup, and the goal was to get him home before the holidays -- in time to save Bear from the worst of the winter weather, and in time to make a nice holiday present for her kids.
The dog was handed off across state lines by the original owners' family.
But after bringing Bear all the way to Chicago the pup got scared by the big city, broke his leash, and dashed off into the suburbs.
And now the Barkdoll's are on a mission to find a Christmas present that ran away.
"We worked so hard to get him here," said Bateman, who said both daughters are "absolutely destroyed" by the loss of their new pet.
Barkdoll said her 9-year-old daughter felt sick to her stomach once Bear bolted, and had a hard time at school the next day.
The family didn't have time to tag or microchip him yet.
Bear was last seen in the Oak Park neighborhood at the intersection of Harvey and Thomas. He was wearing a red harness with part of the leash still attached to it. He has black spots. Anyone with information about Bear is asked to contact Dancy Bateman at firstname.lastname@example.org.