One little Northland boy's heartache over the death of his mother has been compounded by the loss of the puppy that was her last gift to him.
Nine-year-old Noel Wogan didn't feel he had much to look forward to after his mother died of a long illness in May, but the thought of the arrival of a new furry family member was the thing that kept him going.
"It gave him focus after her passing knowing the puppy was coming, and it took away some of his grief," says Noel's grandmother Angela Luke.
"He was saying 'I've got to be strong, I've got a baby coming'. It was a very special little puppy to him."
Just before she died Noel's mother chose the griffin/German spitz cross from a photo of a litter a friend had bred, even naming the puppy Bear on behalf of her son.
Luke says Noel, who goes to Whau Valley School in Whangarei, has not been coping since Bear's disappearance more than two weeks ago.
"The puppy went to bed with him at night and I've been having trouble getting him to bed. There's a whole lot of emotions coming back at the moment around losing his mother. Losing the puppy has brought it all back."
She says his decline has been painful to witness, with Noel asking her, "Do you think my baby will come home nana?".
Bear escaped when a visiting family member accidentally left a door open.
Luke now wonders if he has been stolen, reasoning that even if he had been hit by a car or attacked by another dog, someone would have found him.
She has contacted dog control, a number of vets, the SPCA and has "plastered pictures over Facebook".
She describes Bear as very small, with a black and brown sable coat, a white tummy and a tail that curls up his back.
If you have any information about Bear's disappearance, or you think you have seen him, call (09) 470 4054 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Whangarei Leader