'It’s like something's been ripped out' - Owner of missing Derbyshire dog tells of heartbreak after pet is stolen
A heartbroken woman whose dog is thought to have been stolen in Derbyshire says she is so stressed and worried about him that she struggles to sleep at night.
Jane Mercer, 65, was diagnosed with breast cancer in August and said her beloved sprocker spaniel Blue proved to be a beacon of light during her treatment and through the turbulence of the past year.
However, the 13-year-old pooch went missing from the Pic Tor area of Matlock on June 14 after what is believed to have been a distraction theft.
The dog is not only a beloved companion to Jane but also helps her other sprocker spaniel Pebble, who is deaf and blind, and she is now pining for him and is losing interest in food and walks.
Jane, who has had both dogs since they were puppies from the same litter, said: "The not knowing is killing me. It’s like something has been ripped out. It leaves you not being able to function properly. Sleeping has become more difficult and I’ve definitely lost weight.
"Not that I would have wanted it to have happened, but I would have coped better if he’d have just dropped down dead.
"Then I would have known where he was but this just creates so many scenarios in your head as to what could be happening to him.”
Jane was walking Blue and Pebble on a footpath through the woods in Pic Tor when she was approached by a man at around 12.30pm on Monday, June 14.
The man engaged Jane in a conversation about footpaths and directed her gaze away from Blue, who was off the lead.
He then left and Jane realised her spaniel had disappeared – and despite searches of the area, including ones using drones with help of Derbyshire Dog SOS, has not been seen since.
Another dogwalker, who was in Matlock on June 14, has also reported being stopped for the same conversation by ‘probably the same man’.
A dedicated Facebook page is now running where people can share information and potential leads to help ‘Bring Blue Back Home’.
Jane said: "You just get into a depth that you think you’re not going to get up from. My friends and family, their positivity has kept me going as has caring for Pebble.
"The whole neighbourhood where we live has been fantastic with their support too and we’ve blanketed the area with posters and flyers. Hopefully we can get the word further afield and bring him home.”
Issuing a message to those who may have Blue, she added: “Please return him, either to this area or take him to a vet or dog warden where he is safe. Get him somewhere where he can be identified and can be brought home.
"If somebody has bought him in good faith, please do the right thing. He’s not a young dog, he doesn’t have years ahead of him but we want his last years to be with us and not with someone else.
"We chose to have the dogs, they’re our responsibility and to a certain degree I feel like I’ve let him down.
“If he’s not found this will haunt me for the rest of my life.”
Anyone with information should contact Derbyshire police quoting reference 21*336687.