A FAMILY have been left devastated after their dog was washed away while out on a walk.
Owner Gordon Sharp took one-year-old bulldog Betty for a walk at Chester-le-Street’s Riverside Park when she ran off to chase a duck and fell into the swollen River Wear, which he said had risen as much as 10ft.
The 57-year-old and wife Amanda, 39, have walked along the route of the river in a desperate bid to find Betty and have set up a Facebook site.
Now they are offering a £2,000 reward for her safe return.
Durham County Council worker Amanda said: “We are devastated. We all love Betty, and just want to find her.
“We have walked for miles and miles, following the river, but have not seen her.
“We don’t know what else to do.”
Betty was bred by Gordon’s daughter Kelly Johnson who asked the family to take her in.
The blow of losing the tan and white dog is the second to hit the Chester-le-Street family since Christmas when Amanda’s stepfather died.
“It’s just been one thing after another,” she said.
“We’ve been looking after my mam since my stepdad died. Betty provided a lifeline for her. My mam loved it when we took her to the house.
“I care for my grandad too. He has Parkinson’s disease, so I visit him every night.”
Gordon, who works in security at Newcastle College, said: “You just shut your eyes on a night when the phone rings and it’s another sighting.
“We have been going out in the middle of the night and early hours of the morning looking.”
The couple’s daughter Bobbie-Jade, 16, has also been helping with the search, and it was she who set up a Facebook page – Betty’s Bigger Than Beckham. Their appeal has also featured on Metro Radio’s Night Owls to appeal to find her, and ITVs Alan Titchmarsh show.
“People have been in contact from all over the country,” said Gordon.
“A lady from Stockport rang us and came up to help with door-to-door searches.
“People have been fantastic, but you constantly wonder what’s happening.”
“It’s been difficult getting Bobbie-Jade to go to school,” said Amanda.
“She isn’t coping well at all, what with losing her grandad and now this.
“I just hope we can find Betty.”
l If you see Betty or would like to help the search, tel. 0782 5168 110