Family seeks help finding Xena the dog, who helps Algonquin teen handle cancer treatment

While battling cancer the past few months, 13-year-old Jack Martin has taken great comfort in having his beloved dog by his side, his dad says.

The Martin family of Algonquin is now asking for help searching for Xena, a coonhound-Rhodesian ridgeback mix who got loose Jan. 4 in the Barrington area.

At nearly 2 years old, Xena is energetic and fun to watch, always instigating play time with the family's other dogs, Jason Martin said. She had a close bond with Jack from the beginning, he said, but even more so since the teen was diagnosed in October with stage 4 Ewing's sarcoma, a rare bone cancer.

When Jack would get home from chemotherapy and need to lie down, for example, the loyal Xena could almost always be found relaxing with him.

“She keeps his mind off stuff,” Jason Martin said. “We love that dog to death. She's very important.”

Jack has been missing his furry friend since she got loose earlier this month near the Penny Road Pond west of Old Sutton Road, Martin said. Xena jumped out of the car and ran into the woods, he said, and “before I could do anything about it, she was gone.”

Family and friends have been searching the area and sharing photos of Xena. But although the dog wears a collar and is chipped, Martin said, they have no substantial leads on her whereabouts.

Still, he says, the family remains hopeful as word about Xena's disappearance spreads through social media posts and news reports.

“I'm hoping there's more eyes out there, and at least if somebody did pick her up, they might realize she's being looked for,” Martin said. “We're just trying everywhere we can to get help.”

Meanwhile, Jack has been recuperating at home from a major surgery last Friday and has more treatment ahead, his dad says. It's been a challenging time for the family, but they remain optimistic and focused on Jack's recovery.

“We're hoping everything in the next few months pans out for him,” Jason Martin said. “Finding the dog would just be awesome on top of that.”

If anyone sees Xena, the Martins say she should not be chased. Instead, people are asked to call or text (847) 754-6091 or (847) 878-8697 with any information, including the date, time, location and direction in which Xena was headed. Photos also are encouraged.

Thirteen-year-old Jack Martin of Algonquin was diagnosed with bone cancer in October and has been undergoing treatment ever since, his family said. Courtesy of the Martin family
Xena, a coonhound-Rhodesian ridgeback mix, has rarely left the side of 13-year-old Jack Martin of Algonquin since he was diagnosed with cancer in October. Martin's family is searching for the dog after she went missing Jan. 4. Courtesy of the Martin family
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