Our exhaustive search has continued.

It's been more than five days since Cooper got out of his collar (he is microchipped) and disappeared in my hometown of Sigourney Tuesday morning. We've done so many different things to try to find him. Now, we're overcome with a numbness and at a loss for what else we can do.

Tuesday, everyone searched for 12+ hours, called shelters and law enforcement agencies for miles around, printed posters at my parent's house and posted them only to have them destroyed by a storm that night.

Wednesday, I was up at first light and we looked again until dark. We had professional posters made on card stock and replaced those soaked the night before. We left his kennel, our clothing, and food where he was last seen. We continue to replace the food when it's gone. However, the greenie treat we left hasn't been touched which makes us realize Cooper isn't the one who has been eating the food. He'd never leave his favorite treat behind.

Cooper Facebook

Thursday and Friday while we had to work, family members chased possible leads across Keokuk County and continued to just look, anywhere and everywhere. They also replaced new posters, many of which were destroyed by rain and wind Thursday morning. A drone went into the air to try to find Cooper, to no avail.

Saturday morning, Julie and I joined the search again. A group of family members helped us hand-deliver 500 flyers to residences, churches, and businesses in Sigourney. We went to the Keokuk County Fair in What Cheer, surrounding towns, and area parks, and hung more posters. All the while we received words of encouragement. Sometimes we shed tears and others did the same, seeing the pain on our faces.

Today, we searched more gravel roads we hadn't had time yet to reach. We passed out fliers to farmers and even businesses in other counties. Somehow, despite the fact it's early July, rain poured down yet again on the reward posters.

We've been tagged on Facebook of photos of found shelties from everywhere from the Sigourney area to Marion to Chicago in the last five days. While each was appreciated and briefly made us hopeful, none of them were Cooper. We've received phone calls from area codes we didn't know existed. Those are the hardest. You can't help but be hopeful just from the excitement in each caller's voice. However, each time we've been able to determine Cooper isn't the dog being talked about. You can feel the spirit just sucked out of the caller and in all honesty, I usually shed a couple tears after each call ends. I SO want them to be right, but calls give us hope. Today, for the first time, we didn't receive any.

Our entire family is physically and emotionally exhausted but still they all push on. More posters will go up Monday. More positivity will be directed toward Julie and me. We need it. Each day we need it even more. The pain I feel each time we drive by one of these signs is deep.

Bob James
Bob James

Feeling like you've done everything you can and still coming up empty is a horrible feeling. We've told ourselves for the last five days that if we never find Cooper, we have to know in our heart we've done everything we can to find him. If he never returns, will that peace ever come? I honestly don't know that it will.

To you, I ask you to continue to keep your eyes open for him, everywhere. He could be almost anywhere at this point. If you hear a rumor that Cooper has been found, don't believe it until you see it here at KHAK.com or on my personal Facebook page. Unfortunately, we ran into that rumor Saturday.

These past days as I've looked in fields, brush piles, along gravel roads, in people's yards, and in countless other places one question constantly runs through my mind. "Cooper, where are you?" Shortly after my next thought is this plea. "Dear God, please bring him home. Please."