Local females lean on center's support groups

While Iraq war veteran Stacel Griffin, 36, receives help and support from the Charleston Veterans Center, she also gets plenty of love at home. Her family consists of her husband, Kevin, her son Christian, 11, and her daughter Nailah, 1 1/2.

MONCKS CORNER -- It's more than a just a missing dog story.

"Toby," a 3-year-old American bull terrier was snatched from her front yard Tuesday morning. Described as black with a white chest, Toby is beyond just the family pet. He is specially trained to help an autistic child, 9-year-old Allie Noland.

"We are just devastated without him," Allie's mom, Kelley Noland, said Thursday. She said Allie is taking the loss of Toby very hard. "She is not the same without her buddy."

Noland said Toby is valued at $2,000 but is a priceless companion for Allie. Toby is trained to protect and comfort Allie, and is probably as upset about the separation as the child is.

"He is probably distraught. His job is to take care of Allie and be protective, and when she throws a fit (he) calms her down," Noland said.

A reward is being offered for the dog's return or information leading to it.

Noland said Toby was snatched from the family property on Gaillard Road while the family was preparing for the morning's trip to school.

According to a Berkeley County Sheriff's Office report, some neighborhood children waiting for a school bus about 7:30 a.m. saw a black Dodge car stop, and a white woman with blond hair take the dog. The witnesses could not provide a license tag number, the report said.