Incidents of dog thefts and dogs going missing are on the rise, especially since the demand grew.
As an owner, it has absolutely devastating consequences.
Someone who knows exactly how that feels is Dawn Purvis from Bury, Greater Manchester.
She’s never given up searching for her beloved cockapoo Izzy, who went missing more than six years ago during a half-term holiday.
Izzy was nearly six years old at the time of her disappearance so Dawn knows that time is not on her side with the breed typically living to around 15-years-old.
She told TeamDogs: “There’s lots of people who have said to me ‘she’s not coming back, give up’ and I suppose that would be an easy thing to do and it certainly would be a lot less upsetting and a lot less stressful in all honesty, but she was my family, you know, she was.”
Izzy ran off from her family home after being startled by the house alarm set off by a builder who had turned up a day earlier than planned.
If it hadn’t have been the half term, she would usually be at work with Dawn’s husband Ian.
Dawn said: “She was quite nervous of people she didn’t know as well, especially men.
“The alarm started going off and she ran out the house into the garden and instead of just sort of leaving her and ringing my husband, he kept on trying to catch her.
“Izzy just took off down the street and that was the last anybody saw of her really.”
The worried couple searched the local area and anywhere familiar to Izzy, but didn’t manage to find her.
There were reports of sightings after Dawn set up a Facebook appeal but unfortunately this didn’t lead to her return.
One man on a motorbike did stop to try and catch her but he wasn’t able to.
“She wouldn’t have gone to people that she didn’t know, she was like that,” said Dawn.
“She was that kind of dog. You could take her off the lead on a walk because she would just stay by your side all the time or in view of you all the time. She didn’t like to have you out of her view at all.”
Dawn tried everything she could think of at the time – involving various missing dog charities and even resorting to tearing up one of Ian’s t-shirts and scattering the pieces around the surrounding estate hoping to create a scent trail.
She said: “I think, literally, if somebody would have told me the most obscure thing to do to get her to come home, I would have done it in those days I really would have.”
Although Izzy going missing happened such a long time ago, it is something that still haunts Dawn, she said that it is something she’s never got over.
She said: “My dogs are my family and it’s just like it’s part of my family that I don’t know what happened to, and I’ve never had closure over and that’s the hard bit.
“You never know what happened, you don’t know whether she was okay. She could be lying in somebody’s house quite happy, but I don’t know that, I don’t know.”
Dawn also told TeamDogs how she slept downstairs for months, worried that she wouldn’t hear Izzy if she made her way home.
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The disappearance also had a massive impact on the couple’s children.
“The children used to wake up crying because she still wasn’t home, because they were only young at the time,” said Dawn.
“Dogs are like their best buddies, aren’t they? You know when they tell them everything, even things they won’t tell you I used to hear them tell Izzy.
“She was everything to us.”
In the hope of being reunited with her lost dog and to help raise awareness of the devastating impact this can have on owners, Dawn has recently taken part in a documentary about pet theft and missing dogs.
Muddy Paws Crime, produced by Fusiology Productions, is an unfunded project calling for change in the way dogs are viewed in regards to the law.
Dawn said: “I just don’t think people understand what impact it has on people. And it doesn’t go away, it doesn’t, no matter how long it’s been.
She added: “You know, it isn’t something we get over, we don’t get over. It’s not like somebody taking the TV, you know, they’re not a TV, but by law that’s how they’re thought of, they’re classed as a commodity.
“And I think laws need to change and things need to be, there needs to be more consequences for this because the impact it has on you emotionally is horrendous.”