VANISHED: Where are Mia and Ziggy?
WHEN Mia and Ziggy go on mischievous adventures, a call to the neighbour or a bang on the food bowl is usually all it takes for them to reappear.
But last Friday, they never came home.
Annika Wandel and Barry Henson have been worrying about their beloved chocolate labrador and golden retriever ever since.
After a fruitless search of their 54 acre property on Walters Rd in the Orara Valley, Ms Wandel put up signs and posted all over social media, hoping to get a call from a neighbour to say they were safe and well.
But as the days passed and with only one reported sighting that Friday - at an adjacent property on Dairyville Road - the couple began to wonder if something more sinister had led to the disappearance of their two young dogs.
"If an individual dog went missing you might think somehow or another it might have been injured or killed," Mr Henson said.
"But for two dogs to go missing without a trace - you begin to discount that theory.
"More and more it is cemented in your mind that the only thing is that someone has taken them."
While the couple have left no stone unturned in their search, they have now enlisted the help of Arthur and Co. Pet Concierge, a team of people working across Australia helping to reunite lost and stolen pets with their owners.
"We think someone working in the area or travelling through may have seen the dogs and picked them up," Mr Henson said.
"Just think of this as taking our kids, do the right thing and give them back - we are not looking to get anybody punished, we just want our dogs back."
Pet Concierge owner Anne-Marie said the organisation is made up of former police officers, private investigators, internet sleuths and solicitors who use a wide range of strategies to track down the animals.
Anne-Marie agreed it was unusual to hear of two dogs disappearing together.
"It is very rare for two dogs to meet with misadventure simultaneously," she said.
"In many cases when two dogs go off together one will return many hours later - that is quite common.
"But for two to vanish off the face of the earth is certainly not common."
While investigations into Mia and Ziggy's whereabouts are just beginning and they are yet to uncover evidence of something nefarious occurring, Anne-Marie said pet theft was on the rise.
This was being impacted by the high value of some breeds and increased demand for dogs during the coronavirus pandemic, a time when many animal shelters reported increased adoptions.
Anne-Marie said while this had created a "supply and demand" issue, people needed to understand they are "sentient, feeling beings".
"We are not talking about toilet paper or hand sanitiser here, we are talking about two dogs who have been raised by these beautiful people all their lives," she said.
"To heartlessly pluck any pet from that environment is wrong and as a community we need to start to work together to share information so that this sort of behaviour isn't so easy to get away with."
Anne-Marie pointed out if the dogs had been stolen they might not necessarily be kept together, and if people saw or heard anything they should call 0406 834 001.
Ziggy and Mia were last seen in the area of Dairyville Rd, Upper Orara Rd and Walters Rd, Upper Orara. There is a $1000 reward for the return of the two much-loved dogs.