A DISABLED girl has been left distraught after her constant companion disappeared.
Gary Myers and partner Ashlea Stewart, from Seaham, launched a desperate search for German short-haired pointer Lionel, who they bought as a pup for their daughter Grace, five.
“She is lost without him,” said civil servant Gary, 37. “She doesn’t understand what’s happened.
“They would follow each other around. She’s always at a loose end now.”
He added: “Everything is good about Lionel. He’s full of it and daft as a brush.
“He pinches Grace’s toes, she pinches his. They’re great together.”
Efforts to diagnose Grace’s condition are ongoing, but her parents say she has been slow to develop her mobility and speech and has severe learning difficulties.
Having Lionel around had been good for her.
The dog, which is dark brown with a few flecks on his chest, was last seen by Gary as he took him for a walk on Thursday teatime.
They had been out on New Drive playing fields and into woodland behind Seaham Hall when he disappeared.
“I let him off the lead and he went into the woods,” said Gary.
“I lost sight of him for about 30 seconds and usually he comes back on a whistle, but I think something must have caught his eye.
“We were out looking until midnight and we think someone’s probably got him by now.
“The kind of dog he is means he could cover miles in minutes.
“We’ve spoken to the vets, the police took the details, even though they don’t usually, put posters up around Seaham and we’ve been into all the taxi offices.
“He’s quite a well-known dog. We saw a couple with a pointer the other night, but as far as I know he’s the only one like him in the area.”
Gary and Ashlea, 27, who is also a civil servant, and Grace, a pupil at Howletch Lane Primary in Peterlee, are pining for the 11-month-old dog to come back and are offering a £500 reward for his safe return.
Council dog wardens and local veterinary surgeries have been given his details, and it is hoped his microchip will help in efforts to reunite him with the family.
Anyone with information about Lionel’s whereabouts can contact Gary on 07921 924 360.