One person even slept out to be first in line for one of 200 animals at the Puppypalooza in the parking lot of the Columbia PetSmart on the last weekend before Christmas.
But police are now trying to track down a 15-week old mastiff mix named Zaria who disappeared on the day in question.
"This little puppy went missing, and we went searching. She went missing,” said Cindy Sharpley, the director of the Last Chance Animal Rescue, “So we have the flier that has the picture of the gentleman that was last seen holding her and we're looking for this gentleman to try to talk to him to find out what happened to the puppy."
Zaria, it turns out, isn't just your average puppy.
In her short life, she had already displayed the power to change others.
"This puppy was in a foster home with two small boys---one which was autistic. So this puppy helped the boy come out of his shell,” Jennifer Turpin said. “It's a wonderful dog. He gets along with other dogs and everything. So we just want our puppy back."
The rescue in Waldorf accepts animals from high-kill shelters and places as many as 10,000 of them with forever homes each year.
While the person who stole Zaria may have simply been trying to avoid an adoption fee, the rescue's director says this is not about the money.
"The $375 is not the big deal,” said Sharpley, “It's this puppy being safe and sound in a home. As you can imagine, we and the foster home are beside ourselves because we get so attached to them. You know... we just wanted the best for him. Being stolen, wherever she is---it's not a good sign."
If you have any information on the puppy's whereabouts, a reward is being offered with no questions asked.
Call the Last Chance Animal Rescue at 240-412-5751.
Howard County Police are also investigating this case.