A Borders gamekeeper and his wife are offering a £1,000 reward in a bid to get back two beloved pet dogs they fear were snatched while out on a festive hunt.
Edward Bell and wife Georgia last saw their border terrier bitches Ruby and Beetle on the Lothian Estate at Jedburgh early on the afternoon of Friday, December 28.
Ruby, aged five, and Beetle, two, often disappear only to turn up a short time later at the couple’s home, Woodside Gamekeeper’s House at Jedburgh.
However, as the hours passed, it became clear they were not returning this time round, and the couple now fear their pooches have been targeted by thieves.
Both dogs are spayed and microchipped.
Georgia says she and Edward – along with children Tom, 15; Felicity, 14; and Frances, 12 – are desperately missing their pets as their home doesn’t feel like home without them around.
The couple are offering a financial reward in the hope it will persuade anyone with information to come forward.
Georgia, 45, said: “We were out on a shoot day. The dogs do all our shoot days with me.
“They were with me. They were round my feet, but that’s not to say that when something catches their eye they don’t run after it, but they always, always come back.
“They have done it for years, and on this particular day I did say ‘oh, the terriers have vanished’, which isn’t particularly unusual, and I stayed at the wood for two hours, whistling and shouting and they never, ever returned.
“We have exhausted everything – all of the holes people say to check – but I know that someone has lifted them.
“The terriers have done it before and have actually headed for home. They know the estate better than my husband who has worked on it for 21 years.
“It’s not unusual for them to disappear on a shoot day and then you get home and they are sitting on the doorstep. They can get home quicker than you.
“I know that on that day they were heading for home and they have not been able to get home because someone has picked them up.
“Their being so friendly could have been their downfall.
“There were reports of a really unusual gentleman on the day of the disappearance at Harestanes visitor centre – we just live along from there – and this lady sent me a message to say he made them feel very uncomfortable by making a big fuss of their dogs. The timings would link in with that.
“I feel that a part of my house has been ripped out.
“The house doesn’t feel like a home anymore.
“We don’t sit in the living room because they were always there, and I don’t like going back into the house at the minute.
“£1,000 is being offered as a reward for their safe return.
“I just want people to be vigilant. Someone somewhere knows something.
“We just want them home.”
If you can help track down the missing terriers, call Georgia or Edward on 07885 712165 or 07989 513946.