A FAMILY left devastated after their beloved dog was taken and not reported are urging others to ‘do the right thing’ if they find a lost pet.
The three Turnbull children were recently playing at their home in Cawston when they accidentally left the front door open.
Their two dogs, Staffordshire Bull Terrier Bruno and Shih Tzu Rosie both escaped, and the youngsters rushed out to catch them.
And while they grabbed hold of Bruno, five-year-old Rosie continued to run.
The shocked children then watched as two women stopped 30 metres from the house at the corner of Lawford Lane and picked her up before driving off.
What followed was three days of frantic searching and social media posts trying to locate Rosie which were shared thousands of times, along with articles on The Observer website and pleas for her return on the radio.
The Shih Tzu was finally taken home after a neighbour approached the family who had her and said she looked the same as one which was missing.
She had been just two miles away in Long Lawford.
But Rosie’s owner Anthony says immediate action should have been taken when his dog was found, and is urging others not to make the same mistake.
The self-employed tiler told the Observer: “With the massive social media presence I find it very hard to believe they didn’t know she was missing.
“She’s microchipped, and all it would have taken is a call to the vet or dog warden. If ever you find a dog please make sure this is the first thing you do. It was traumatising for us and for her. Taking someone’s dog is like taking someones kids.”
To get Rosie over a stressful few days the family booked her in for some pampering at the groomers.
Anthony thanked those who helped get her home, including Rugby-based charity Pawprints and volunteers from DogLost.
Anita Twigger from Pawprints said it was the law for those who find a dog to contact the local dog warden.
She added the charity had also recently seen a rise in thefts, and had even seen local incidents of people trying to rehome dogs they had found without having the dog scanned for a chip.
She told the Observer: “We have always assisted owners with trying to find lost or stolen dogs.
“Rosie was reunited purely because of intervention. It makes you wonder how many other long term missing dogs and their families, have not had a chance.
“We ask that anybody finding a stray dog contact the local wardens for the area, as is the law, and give the dog a chance to find its way home.”
And DogLost is urging owners to take precautions to prevent pets going missing.
Spokeswoman Lin Iddon said: “Rosie’s family were understandably overjoyed at her return. Sadly this type of incident is happening more often.
“It’s heart-breaking for the families and all concerned. It really does only take a second for your dog to ‘disappear’.
“Please don’t leave dogs unattended in the garden or tied up outside shops. Opportunists are everywhere.
“Ensure your dog is microchipped, contact details are up to date and that he or she is wearing a collar and ID tag – which is the law. It’s also a good idea to have current photographs of your dog.
“These things won’t guarantee the return of your pet but will certainly help.”