A WOMAN is offering her life savings of £5,000 as reward to find a pet dog.
Sam Earle, from Northend, was left devastated when her German shepherd Teddy vanished on December 13. She believes the four-year-old bitch was stolen.
Mrs Earle was walking through her 70 acres of land, where she looks after rescued animals, with Teddy and Harry Potter, a black Labrador, when the dogs bolted.
She recalled: “It was a shoot day so it was late in the afternoon. We had walked all the way round and were two minutes from our house.
“I lifted up the gates and they both shot off. Harry came home two hours later but Teddy did not.
“Harry has always been on a lead as he is a naughty, loveable rogue but Teddy did not need one.
Mrs Earle, 45, and her 60-year-old husband Ken, a forester, have been appealing for information ever since.
She said: “I am certain that she was stolen and that someone knows where she is. People will say, ‘it is just a dog’ but it’s not. I was not lucky enough to have children, Teddy was my child. She is my life and is really important to me.
“I hand-reared Teddy as her mother died giving birth to her. She was from a litter of 10 but was the only one I kept. She was a birthday present for my husband — Teddy was his little girl.
“Ken has spent hours looking for her, going across fields in his Land Rover. He really wants her back. The £5,000 reward is all my savings and if it makes people talk and help find her then it is worth it.”
Mrs Earle conceded that her pet was likely to have gone with a stranger. “Teddy loves people,” she said. “She is really friendly and particularly loves vehicles — she used to sit in my old pick-up truck, which she made into a little den.
“German shepherds do not just run off but I think she would have willingly jumped into a vehicle. If anyone had called her she would have wagged her tail and gone to them.”
Since Teddy went missing, there have been several reported sightings of her but her owner said: “I do not think they were genuine, I think she was picked up and taken.
“I get phone calls and messages every day from people going through the DogLost website and Facebook. The problem is that German shepherds are all different because of their three colours.
“Teddy has very distinctive markings with a black bit on her back in the saddle area. She also has a long curly coat.”
One of the sightings led to Mrs Earle adopting another German shepherd.
She said: “I have spent my whole life rescuing horses, ponies and dogs. I have 40 rescue horses, which I take in when people cannot look after them any more.
“Now I have seven other dogs, including Harry and a Jack Russell. The most recent came after I received an alert for a dog that looked very much like Teddy.
“I went to east London where I found this poor little bitch cowering in a shed. I could not bear to leave her.”
One sighting came on the night that Teddy went missing.
Mrs Earler said: “A man who walks around the Christmas Common area every night said he saw Teddy with what he thought was Percy, a chocolate Labrador that went missing in October. It could not have been Percy because, as we now know, he had already been killed but someone knows where Teddy is.”
Percy, who was two and belonged to Jade Park, from Highmoor, was found dead by a farm worker in a bramble bush on the Nettlebed Estate on February 21 and is believed to have been shot by poachers.
Mrs Earle plans to hold an event later this month to raise awareness of Teddy’s disappearance. “It will be a nice way to get the message out there,” she said. “It will be held on my land and a friend will be offering free dog grooming.”
Teddy was wearing a red collar with her name tag when she vanished and is chipped.Anyone with information should call Mrs Earle on 07503 233945.