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Oh major bummer! In February, 2010, Trooper, a six-year-old six-pound chihuahua, was snatched up by a Great Horned Owl. Trooper's owner Odessa Gunn (whose husband is the famous cyclist Levi Leipheimer) lives in a rural area near Santa Rosa.

"It was so fast," said Odessa. "There was no warning." She had let her four chihuahuas into the backyard to do their poo and potty, and was putting on her own boots to join them when she heard a whooshing "crazy weird sound," and two of her dogs yelping. She hurried to round up Bandit, Smokey and Coyote and then went hunting for Trooper, but he was just gone. "There was no trace."

Levi was in Portugal participating in a race. When the news reached him, it was hard not to be distracted from the physical ordeal to which he was committed. "He was kind of my dog," said Levi, trying not to appear too awfully distraught.

Bandit had pucture wounds but escaped. Levi said: "We think the owl tried to take Bandit, and Trooper ran to the rescue so the owl took him."

Odessa put up lots of "missing dog" fliers with a photo of Trooper, hoping the owl dropped the dog rather than eating him. "If anyone has seen any trace of him we would love to know. The unknown is horrible," she said.

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