It has been two weeks of restless nights for 86-year-old Elizabeth Overton after the toy poodle she was looking after was stolen from central Auckland.
Normi, a two-year-old male toy poodle with brown curly hair, went missing on November 14 after escaping from Overton's Epsom property.
The retiree had been looking after the shy little dog for approximately three months before a gate was left open and he ran out into lunchtime traffic on Mountain Rd.
What happened next has left Overton fearful for the dog's safety and lacking in sleep.
"According to one or two of the neighbours he walked up the street and went on to the road and caused a little bit of havoc," Overton said.
"Two women then tried to catch him and apparently this woman drove up, stopped the car, got out and picked up the little dog and drove off with him."
After reporting the incident to the SPCA, local vets and lost pet registers to no avail, Overton is convinced the driver of the vehicle had malicious intentions.
"This to me is stealing because there is no way he would have come from anywhere else but around here and she should have checked up.
"I think she knew that it is a very expensive little dog and I am sure she knew exactly what she was doing."
Overton said she feels terrible about the situation and misses the dog's company.
"I couldn't sleep at night properly because I really was very upset," she said.
"Why would somebody take an old lady's dog, except for selfish reasons."
Normi belongs to a friend of one of Overton's boarders, and she had to ring them during their overseas holiday to tell them the news.
"Unfortunately they are back in China at the moment but you can imagine they would be just as upset as we were," she said.
"He is quite a scared little dog and he would run away from people, but he got used to us and would come and sit on my arm.
"He really was lovely, I miss him."
Overton has reported Normi as a stolen dog to police and is hoping that flyers and word of mouth will bring the dog home.
A police spokesperson confirmed that a complaint was made to police on November 17.
"I don't think you want to know what my message to the woman would be, but I would appreciate it if she bought the dog home or handed it in," Overton said.
"If she didn't want to be found out she could just take it to the SPCA or a local vet and tell them."
Normi is registered, microchipped and has been desexed.
Anyone with information about Normi's whereabouts is asked to contact NZ Herald on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0800 437 253.