As six-year-old Tyree Walters lay in hospital in agony with 30 stitches to his face and chest from a vicious dog attack heartless thieves burgled his home, taking clothes, food and even his school bag with library books.
But it is a PlayStation filled with music belonging to his father Reece Walters, who died suddenly three years ago, that he is missing the most.
In fact on being released from Whangarei Hospital on Sunday morning all he wanted to do when he got home was listen to "Daddy's songs".
"There was one hundred and thousand songs. I like all of them," he said, recuperating at his Hikurangi home.
Yesterday, his appeal to the thieves was simple: "Apologise, then give it back."
The nightmare began on Friday when Tyree, who had been playing with the neighbouring kids at his house in Valley Rd, ventured next door about 5pm.
Mum Jess Wood said she was reluctant about letting him go as it was close to bath time for Tyree and his three-and-a-half-year-old sister Marli. But she thought half an hour would be all right. If she had know the neighbours had a dog she would never have let Tyree go.
The dog was chained up but bit Tyree, who managed to kick it off before it inflicted more bloody wounds.
Ms Wood became aware of the serious facial injuries when the neighbour called out.
"He was holding my boy with a towel over his face. There was blood everywhere. I got the neighbour to put my son in the car.
"I grabbed my keys. I just had to get him to hospital because he was losing so much blood."
It wasn't until she got to the emergency department at hospital that she realised the extent of the dog bites.
"His face was just ripped apart," she said.
Nearly all of the 30 stitches are in Tyree's right cheek. Three are holding together a puncture wound on his chest.
In a rush to get her son help she left the house she has rented for two months from her grandparents unlocked.
She stayed with her son in Whangarei Hospital until he was released.
Ms Wood, 27, has been raising her two children, Tyree and sister Marli, alone since her partner's death.
They had just returned on Thursday night after a trip to Australia visiting family.
Arriving home from the hospital it was a cruel surprise when they opened the front door to discover they had been burgled.
Food she had bought on Friday had been cleared from the freezer, clothes, shoes, sunglasses, alcohol and the priceless PlayStation were all gone.
"I don't care about anything else, it's all replaceable, but that PlayStation can never be replaced. Can we please just have it back," Ms Wood said
"It was the only thing he has of his dad's that he could access regularly and use and has meaning for him."
She said if the PlayStation was returned to her front door that would be the end of the matter.
Tyree is conscious of the stitches and will be at home doing his school work until he can return.
"I'm just praying he heals well. He's such an inspiration, he keeps me strong," Ms Wood said.
Whangarei District Council regulatory services manager Grant Couchman said the black shar pei dog was seized and remained in the pound while investigations continued.
He confirmed the dog had been tied up when the young boy had approached.
Inspector Al Symonds said police were investigating the burglary and urged anyone who could help with the return of the playstation to contact Whangarei police station on 09 4304500 or anonymously on Crimestoppers 0800 555 111.
The Northern Advocate has also received several offers of donations for Tyree and has made this account available for donations - 06-0287-0590510-12
Thank you for your generosity.
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