Update: Skyler has been safely reunited with his owner.
For the last 16 years, Gallery Art in Aventura has been a second home for Skyler.
The 18-year-old rat terrier would strut around the store like he owned it, greet customers and follow them around as they shopped the store with pieces by Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali and Kenny Scharf, among other artists. Other times, he would sleep in his cushioned bed.
But that all changed Monday.
Skyler's owner, Ken Hendel — who also owns Gallery Art — said his dog, who has had a pacemaker for the last five years, was taken by a stranger after he followed a customer outside. Skyler, Hendel said, didn't have his collar on.
"He's in his senior years, he doesn't go too far on his own," he said. "Someone took him. I was hoping by now he'd be returned."
Hendel said he's retrieved surveillance video from Monday evening that shows a man in a blue shirt and baseball cap carrying Skyler and then loading him into a car near Gallery Art, which is tucked in the corner of the Promenade Shops, 20475 Biscayne Blvd.
He's offered a $2,500 reward for Skyler's safe return. He's reported Skyler missing to police, visited neighboring stores and requested their video, called all the animal shelters and posted on social media.
"I've done everything I can think of," he said. "I just need him back."
Hendel said he's especially concerned because of his dog's quirks — most of which are related to his advanced age.
Skyler can't be walked on a leash because it irritates his pacemaker. He'll only eat freshly cooked meat and chicken mixed in with a little dog food. A bone could break his brittle teeth. His breath smells because his 18-year-old body can't handle the anesthesia to get his teeth cleaned.
"His breath smells, he farts and he sleeps a lot," Hendel said. "I accept him for who he is. I'm not sure anyone else will."
Wherever Skyler is, Hendel hopes he's being cared for.
"He's like my child," he said. "I can't explain the love he gives back."
Anyone with information can call Hendel at 305-439-7422.