What started as a normal day quickly turned into a nightmare for Te Puke couple Emma Huamash and Lawrence Charles.
Their 12-year-old chihuahua was usually tucked up by the fireplace in one of the many beds available to her when the couple woke in the morning.
However, around 10am on Friday before Queen's Birthday weekend, Emma noticed her first baby was nowhere to be seen.
With tears welling in her eyes, Emma shares the hurt she is facing now her beloved pooch is no longer sitting right next to her.
"For some people, it is just a dog, but not for everyone. It's just too much for me."
When Lawrence suggested the couple move to New Zealand from the United States 10 years ago, Emma's first thought was Mimi.
It was a strenuous and expensive task to import the dog into the country, but for Emma, it was more than worth it as she knew no one else in New Zealand to begin with.
Now, some years later, their dog that never wanders further than to check the corner of their road, has gone missing.
Lawrence said the panic started to set in when he came home at 1.30pm on Friday to find out Mimi was gone. He then rushed to get flyers printed and to post on Facebook pages.
But so far there have been no leads.
"Our only conclusion is that either somebody took her thinking she was a lost doggy, or somebody took her just to steal her and sell her elsewhere in the community, because she's never left for more than an hour."
For the length of the weekend, the couple and their two daughters continued to post flyers, search neighbouring parks and streets, call the pound and even check under their deck and bushes in the area in case she had died.
But again, there have been no leads.
Emma fears someone may have stolen Mimi thinking she was a baby due to her size.
It comes after Nalah the bulldog was allegedly stolen from a Te Puke address last month.
Owner Detroit Paki put the call out on social media for any sightings and after a week he was reunited with the pooch in Rotorua.
Police said they could not comment on whether the theft of dogs was rising as it did not "have an offence code to distinguish stolen items by type, only by monetary value".
However, a police spokesman said dogs were generally stolen because of the value.
"Contrary to popular belief, most pets are not stolen for fighting purposes, but due to their potential value when resold.
"This is particularly likely where the theft involves a young, purebred animal."
He said the theft of animals could be devastating for their owners and families, as many are regarded as family members, and police took the reports seriously.
"Regardless of what is being stolen, theft is usually an opportunistic crime. The best thing you can do to prevent a pet from being stolen is to reduce the number of opportunities an ill-intentioned person may have to steal it."
Some tips include:
• Don't leave pets unattended in public if you can avoid doing so
• Ensure your dog's "run" or outdoor area is secure, or keep your dog inside when you aren't home, if possible
• Make sure your pet is registered and microchipped
• Register that microchip on the New Zealand Companion Animal Register and keep the listing up to date when you move home or change contact details
• Put an engraved tag with your contact details on the animal's collar.