Two presidential campaign staffers were distraught to discover their beloved dog named Gumbo went missing— so their boss, presidential hopeful Senator Cory Booker, joined the search party to bring him home.
Booker made a call to action on Twitter Wednesday, asking his followers and Atlanta residents to be on the lookout for the black and white pitbull-boxer mix.
“Hi, Atlanta. I need your help: Two of my staffers recently lost their dog, Gumbo,” reads a tweet from the senator’s account, along with a selfie video and a photo of the doe-eyed pup. The dog was allegedly last seen in southwest Atlanta. “Let’s send Gumbo home!”
His tweet kicked off a #FindGumbo campaign online.
Gumbo belongs to Michael Tyler, 32, and Alexandria Witt, 29. Tyler, an Atlanta native, had left Gumbo with his parents in Georgia to move to Newark, N.J. to work on Booker’s presidential campaign. While Tyler was moving, Gumbo went missing over the Memorial Day weekend.
Tyler and his girlfriend, Witt, have been “heartbroken” since Gumbo went missing. Tyler has had the 7 1/2-year-old canine since he could “fit in the palm of my hand.”
“I’m desperate to get my little guy back. I got him when he was 8 weeks old,” Tyler tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “He’s been at my side for the past years and has traveled across the county with me. He’s just so incredibly sweet loving and affectionate.”
When Booker found out, Tyler says the Democratic candidate for president took the initiative to help find the pup. Booker knew that starting a mass campaign was the best way to get more eyeballs searching for Gumbo.
“[Booker] knew pretty early on that Gumbo was missing. He offered to tweet out a video because he knew he was going to come to Atlanta for campaign awareness— and I greatly appreciate it,” says Tyler. “I’ve only been working him for a few months and the campaign is certainly a close-knit family. The entire staff has helped amplify the search.”
Booker traveled to Atlanta to speak at the Democratic National Committee’s African American Leadership Council Summit and attend other campaign events. While he was in the city, the New Jersey senator wanted to put “a call out to all who can help.”
“We are really all caring very much about getting this dog back,” Booker says in the video, showing a flyer for the missing dog as he sits in the passenger seat of a vehicle. “He’s a member of the family and we’re just really worried about that.”
Booker encouraged his followers to send tips about Gumbo’s whereabouts to an email account they dedicated to finding the missing dog. According to the flyer, the staffers were willing to offer a “generous reward” to whoever could find the dog.
Booker’s tweet inspired other Democratic candidates for president to aid in the search. Former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro and California Senator Kamala Harris, both who have joined the Democratic 2020 presidential field, also took to Twitter to help expand the search.
Tyler said that with Booker’s help, more people have reached out in the past 24 hours than in the weeks since Gumbo went missing.
“Now that we have more eyeballs, I’m more optimistic that folks aren’t going to forget about him and that they’ll know what to do,” says Tyler. “If we find him it’s going to be because everyone lended a helping hand in spreading the word and I’m grateful.”
Tyler says that Gumbo loves to cuddle, and his favorite spot is “on top of you on the couch.”
He adds, “If you see him grab him tight, hold him and don’t let him go until I get there.”
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