THIEVES have left a woman who suffers from mental health issues devastated after stealing her beloved dog.
For the last five years, rottweiler BJ has provided Simone Sturley with the companionship she needs to keep her from sinking into depression.
But thugs have snatched the dog from outside the home of Simone’s mum in Shiney Row home, leaving the 21-year-old shaken and shocked.
“BJ means the world to us,” she said.
“I’ve had him since he was six-weeks-old and we go most places together, if I need to leave the house he comes with me.
“It’s left me really depressed and I’m crying all the time. I can’t stop.”
The “lifeline” dog has also helped Simone, of Houghton, overcome her battle with depression and other mental health issues.
Now mum Carol Joesbury fears without BJ her daughter may sink back into depression.
The 53-year-old said: “That dog is a lifeline to my daughter and is like her baby.
“It’s her closest companion and has seen her through some really tough times.
“She’s done nothing but cry since she found out and has been stopping with me.
“I’ve had no sleep through worrying for her. It’s awful.
“I’m frightened for Simone and worried about what she might do if she doesn’t get him back.
“We’re also worried about BJ because he’s never spent a night without Simone. He’s so soft and mild-tempered and goes everywhere with her.
“He will be beside himself too.”
On Saturday, Simone went to visit her mum’s bungalow in Council Avenue.
She tied BJ up outside her house. But when she went out to bring him in about 10 minutes later, he had gone.
Carol, who bought BJ as a pup for a Christmas present for Simone, said: “He was tied up on a chain and there was no way he could have escaped but who would do this?”
Simone added: “If anyone out there has him then please give him back or get in touch as I need to know he’s ok.”
BJ is described as black and tan coloured. He weighs about 7st and has an extra toe on his right back paw.
He was taken at about 5.10pm on Saturday and Northumbria Police are investigating.
Anyone with information is asked to phone police on 03456 043 043, extension 69191.