All of us at Valley Animal Center were relieved when nothing spooky occurred to us on the first of October. By Friday, we were thrilled when, at the end of the business day, we realized that the entire week had been uneventful.

Today, however, we believe something terrible happened to our certified dog trainer, Mariah. Ruben, our animal care adoption supervisor, said he noticed a missed call from her made between 7:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. yesterday. There was a voicemail, but he assumed the call was made accidentally.

“I didn’t hear much,” Ruben said. “Sounded like someone was eating, but that’s all.”

Earlier today, our marketing manager, Alisia, walked Sunny D, an adoptable, out by the front gate. As the two made their way back, they found a cell phone along the path. After inspecting it, they realized it belonged to Mariah, as the image on the screen was a photo of Mariah’s dog, Angel.

“At first,” Alisia said, “I didn’t think much of it. I figured I’d wait to see Mariah to let her know I found her phone, but I never saw her.”

When Mariah’s first client let us know that they couldn’t get ahold of her, we began to worry but hoped that maybe Mariah was experiencing a personal issue. When the second client couldn’t locate her either, that’s when Alisia and Ruben made the decision to look through her phone.

“I hated doing it,” Alisia said, “but at this point, we were very worried about her. Thankfully, she didn’t lock her phone, so we were able to access it. The last video on her phone was terrifying to watch. You can see she’s running with Kevin, our therapy dog in training. I believe she was being chased by someone she felt threatened by. You can hear her breathing heavily, and then she screams. The screen goes black. That’s when the video ends.”

Ruben and Alisia immediately asked our admin assistant, Jennie, about her.

“Have you heard from Mariah?” Ruben asked.

“No,” Jennie said. “Kevin is here, though.”

“He is?” Alisia asked.

“Yeah,” Jennie said. “The girls have been with him all day. He seemed stressed when they checked on him this morning. He’s perfectly fine now. You know Kevin, he just loves attention.”

“Well, that’s a relief,” Ruben said.

Suddenly, Ruben’s phone began to vibrate.

“That’s strange,” Ruben said.

“What?” Alisia asked. “Who is it?”

“It’s Mariah.”