Where's Rajah? Minnesota couple plans to stay in Naples until their cat is found
Rajah is missing, and a Minnesota couple isn't leaving Naples until the beloved family cat is found.
Cody Dornbusch and Samantha Racine of St. Paul, Minnesota, have traveled the U.S. for the past few months and arrived in Naples last month with the 4-year-old Rajah and their husky puppy, Zen. They are currently unemployed, occasionally selling Racine's craft work along the way.
The couple on Jan. 26 stopped for gas at a Murphy gas station outside the Walmart along Collier Boulevard, just south of U.S. 41 East. They rolled down the window for Zen to get some air, not realizing that Rajah had jumped out of the window when they did.
By the time they had arrived at their destination after leaving the gas station, they realized Rajah was missing. Thanks to the help of the Murphy's gas station staff, they were able to determine through camera footage that Rajah had fled into the Walmart parking lot, an area ripe with woods and bushes for Rajah to hide in.
Dornbusch and Racine decided they wouldn't leave until they found their Bengal cat. Racine has raised Rajah since she was 7 weeks old, and the couple has spent the last two weeks living out of a small camper and searching day and night for Rajah, sometimes sleeping during the day to get more time to look for her at night.
The couple is grateful for those who have helped in trying to find Rajah.
“The support from the community has motivated us and kept us in tune," Dornbusch said.
Community members have stepped up to provide them with gas money, dog food, and meals to have assisted in their search. Local animal lovers have also provided traps and bait, as well as a trail cam to help bring Rajah home.
Sue Law is one of those who has helped. Law is an administrator of the Lost Pet Finders of Collier County Facebook page that helps locals track down lost pets. Law also creates the weekly Lost Pets feature that runs in the Naples Daily News Neapolitan section every Friday.
She helped the couple with traps and advice on how to find the cat.
"(I) felt horrible for the situation they were in being from out of town," Law said.
"I have seen many people just up and go after losing a pet but Cody and Sam were determined and responsible enough to stay and do the work.”
As the couple approaches three weeks since Rajah disappeared, they remain hopeful. Dornbusch has begun looking for work in the area, as they plan to stay in Naples as long as it takes.
Rajah weighs about 10 pounds and was last seen at the Walmart on 6650 Collier Blvd. If you have any information regarding Rajah’s whereabouts, call the couple at 651-425-9071. You can also help by donating to their GoFundMe, Bring Rajah Home.
Unemployment rates fell across SWFL as 2020 came to an end
Collier County's tourism performed better than expected in 2020
Lee, Collier, homeless coalitions conduct surveys, expect high numbers