'You can keep the camera'

Family wants video of deceased pet returned

Emily Tunks, 8, lost her favorite dog -- twice.
Rawli, a 2-year-old blue heeler, died in a hit-and-run accident on County Road 7 in March. Then, on May 16, Emily's 16-year-old sister drove away with the family's only images of Rawli sitting on top of the roof.
A video camera in a case, along with at least two videotapes, flew off the car at some point along C.R. 7. Emily's mother, Lorna, said that she just wants the videos back. "You can keep the camera," she wrote in a classified ad seeking help in recovering the tapes.
The videos contain recorded images of autistic Emily at school, as well as scenes of her sister in drama. But even more important are the images of the dog, Lorna Tunks said.
"I know it sounds dumb, but she was like a family member. You could tell her to go to somebody, and she knew people by name," she said describing how smart her dog was.
Emily often would push the limits with Rawli, Tunks said. Not many dogs could be around Emily, but Rawli was extremely patient; she was Emily's special dog, she said.
"Emily's behavior is really horrible, but that dog followed her around everywhere; it was like unconditional love. It was really special. Emily still wakes up crying for her dog and (the dog is) not there," Tunks said.
Animals play a big role in therapy with autistic children, Tunks said.
"Everywhere we went, that dog went. She was just an awesome, awesome dog," Tunks said.
All she wants is to get the videos back, she said. If someone picked up the camera, she said they can keep it, because the videos are what are important.
"I think it would be nice (for Emily) to have those videos to look back on when she's old," said Tunks, who is offering a reward for the return of lost tapes.

Call 629-1048 with information, or the tapes can be returned to Lorna Tunks at P.O. Box 133; Craig, CO 81626.

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