Therapy dog Maple who 'changed owner's life' goes missing and is feared stolen from Berkshire home

  • ITV Meridian's Juliette Fletcher has been to speak to Maple's owner

A dog owner in Berkshire has been left devastated after her therapy dog went missing and is feared stolen. 

Maple, a cockapoo, was on a walk with her vulnerable owner in the village of Hurst last Monday, when she disappeared on Hogmoor Lane.

It's feared she may have been stolen, and a Thames Valley Police investigation is underway.

Maple's owner, who wants to remain anonymous, said, "We were checking all the land for her everywhere just in case.

"Maple doesn't leave me, and my whistle is always enough to call her back to my side, but she is always in my sight.

"This isn't about money, we were joined at the hip.

"Maple changed my life."

Posters have been put up around Hurst following Maple's disappearance

"I've had really good support from the local community and dog walkers," Maple's owner added.

"They understand that they are our babies.

"She's not just a dog.

"If you walk in that area with your dog, and you saw a suspicious car, please get in touch.

  • Maple's owner says she's like a lifeline

Poodle crosses like Maple are popular and have often been targeted by thieves, as prices for puppies shot up during the pandemic. 

Charity Beauty's Legacy helps to reunite missing dogs and cats with their owners.

Lisa Dean from the charity said, "Throughout lockdown dog thefts have spiked.

"Demand for animals soared, and they weren't available through reputable breeders and rescue centres because of the restrictions, so pet thefts increased.

"In Maple's case, she's a very desirable breed, anything crossed with a poodle at the moment is very popular. They would have taken her, probably thinking she's a puppy, as she's very small, young and bouncy, so they would have been hoping to take her to sell on for a large amount of money."

Maple was wearing a pink collar and ID tag, and has been microchipped and spayed.

Police say a blue Saab 9-3 drove away from the road at the time that Maple was stolen Credit: Thames Valley Police

Maple's owner has offered a large reward for her safe return.

In a statement, a Thames Valley Police spokesperson said, "Maple was stolen from Hogmoor Lane, Hurst on 21st March 2022 around 15:22.

"The attached blue vehicle drove away from the road at the time that Maple was stolen. I am seeking the occupants of this vehicle to make contact with me via TVP website investigation update tool.

"The blue vehicle is suspected to a Saab 9-3.

"If you feel you have have information to assist the investigation, please either visit Thames Valley Police website or call 101. The crime reference is 43220124164."