Tom Finley and RebaTom Finley, 69, and his beloved canine companion, Reba, a 13-14 yr old Alaskan mix are familiar fixtures on the downtown Chicago streets, spending their days near La Salle and Madison in the Loop.

When he was homeless they spent their days collecting money and making friends along the way. Surviving on his $601 a month social security check, living in an apartment that a Loop worker helped him to get, which costs $550, Finley still accepts handouts to help him make it through and so does Reba.

Reba vanished last Friday. When Finley was getting some food for Reba, a woman, who appeared to be homeless, came and spirited Reba away a witness told Finley.

“When I think about it, tears come to my eyes,” said Finley, who adopted the Alaskan mix from a pound about 12 years ago. “We’re going to grow old together, and we’re going to die together.”

Finley’s finding out how much the people of Chicago, the friends he’s made along the way, care. Dozens of office workers have searched for Reba — setting out on bikes, printing fliers and posting messages online. One woman even gave Finley a cell phone to field calls generated by the search.

“These people have been sweet,” Finley said. “I can’t believe how sweet they are.”

‘She’s very friendly’

Reba, named after country star Reba McEntire, weighs 30 pounds, with a yellow coat, blue-gray eyes and a bad left hip that causes her to limp. Finley carts her around in a baby trailer he pulls behind a mountain bike. The dog likes Wendy’s hamburgers, licking toes and chasing skateboarders. Other than the latter, she’s well-behaved, Finley says.The pair have been a Loop fixture for years, spending their days near La Salle and Madison. Finley lives off his $601-a-month Social Security check, but the home he rented with the help of a Loop worker costs $550 a month. So he still accepts handouts. Reba does, too.

“She’s very friendly. She loves her Beggin’ Strips,” said Carol Mucha, a Loop secretary from Lindenhurst who often brings Reba the bacon-flavored snacks.

“It’s phenomenal how so many people care about this dog and about Tom,” said Wendy Bohan, an ABN AMRO worker from Roselle who is helping in the search. “We’re all heartsick over this.”

The woman spotted taking Reba is likely homeless, said Finley, who is getting increasingly concerned because the dog takes pills for her hip. Finley’s friends are worried, too. They say he has searched nearly continuously for Reba and hasn’t been eating.

If you’ve seen Reba, call Finley at (312) 375-9091. (Chicago Sun-Times)

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