Puppy on track to become Montgomery County woman's emotional support dog located safely in DC

UPDATE: Noel Sutherland reached out to FOX 5's Tisha Lewis Wednesday to say her puppy, Leo, was found safely in D.C. after the story aired. "Thank you for doing the story!"


ASPEN HILL, Md. (FOX 5 DC) – A Maryland woman is searching for her missing puppy that was on track to become an emotional support dog amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The pooch became the newest member of the family after Noel Sutherland says her father died in April due to COVID-19. The puppy was only 14 weeks when she went missing.

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The puppy disappeared from the Aspen Hill neighborhood in Montgomery County last Monday.  

Since then, FOX 5’s Tisha Lewis reports neighbors have been on the lookout and signs and fliers are popping up with hopes that someone has spotted little Leo. The dog is named in memory of Sutherland's father who would have turned 66 in August.

Sutherland says she bought the pitbull puppy after her father died in April due to the coronavirus. She says her father’s death intensified the feeling of isolation due to the pandemic, plus she was grieving the loss. Therapists reportedly recommended she get a dog and she did.

In a home video, you can see Leo is brown and weighs about 11 pounds.

Sutherland says she was getting ready to start the certification for Leo to become an emotional support dog when she went missing. Dogs have to be at least six months old to begin the process.

Leo was last seen on the deck. She apparently slipped through one of the slots. If you see her, you can contact Noel Sutherland on social media platforms or 202-431-3239.

Interestingly enough, Sutherland says within the first few days of having Leo, the dog was diagnosed with parvovirus which she describes as similar to coronavirus but in dogs. She tells FOX 5 she nursed the puppy back to good health.