JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Just talking about his eight-year-old German schnauzer brings tears to Tom Bell's eye.
"Rommel is my world basically. He's like my son ... He's all I live for. ... I just start thinking about him and I fall apart," Bell said.
Bell has a lung disease and cerebral palsy. Because he can't walk, he trained Rommel to be his service dog.
"I've basically trained him to help me pick up certain things like spoons and how to take my socks off, my pant legs ... I trained him myself. He would bring me his leash, my hat, my sunglasses."
On Monday, Bell said his world was turned upside down. A delivery man left the gate in his front yard open and that night. Not knowing the gate was open, his sister let Rommel outside.
"He wouldn't have ran off and we think somebody might have picked him up or basically just took him."
While relatives and neighbors have combed the streets and plastered missing dog signs around the Marietta area, Bell says he had to anxiously sit inside because his electric wheelchair is broken.
But a group of friends who he met on Facebook who all follow an author who wrote a book about a German Schnauzer are giving him hope...helping him get the word out online.
"There are people in Ireland. There are people in Brazil. They are everywhere. This is the story of Rommel it just blew out. I've got friends in Scotland that are just posting and pasting everyone. ... My God it is priceless."
Without Rommel by his side, Bell says he doesn't know what to do.
"This dog has been the greatest joy in my life. I'm lost without him."
First Coast News