‘World turned upside down’: therapy dog stolen from boy, five

When five-year-old Oscar was introduced to his puppy, Elvis, his life changed.Oscar is on the autistic spectrum and had previously struggled to maintain friendships but his cockapoo therapy dog filled that gap, said his mother, Natallie Cobden.But 11-month-old Elvis was stolen last week in a raid on a boarding kennel in Derbyshire. Cobden, 33, from Derby, is distraught and has not been able to tell her son and his four-year-old sister that their beloved pet has been taken.“What Elvis does with Oscar, they’re like two peas in a pod,” she said. “He didn’t have any friends, Elvis was like his buddy, Oscar would get him, they became really bonded.”

Keep Them Active. Energy varies between breeds, says Dr. Becker. “Greyhounds, Labs, Golden Retrievers, Jack Russell Terriers, Border Collies, and other active breeds have unfathomable energy.” He continues, “wolves spend 80% of their time awake, moving. With cats, there’s not such an exercise requirement,” but providing outlets for play at home is still crucial. For both cats and dogs he recommends food-dispensing that “recreates the hunt,” and puzzle feeders that engage your pet’s “body and mind.”

Oscar and his sister with Elvis.Oscar and his sister with Elvis, who was stolen from kennels along with two other dogs. Photograph: Natallie Cobden
Elvis was stolen from Brookfield Farm kennels near Derby between 6pm on 3 August and 6am on 4 August. He had stayed there twice previously and was supposed to be there until 7 August while the family were holidaying in the Lake District.The thieves stole Elvis and Tony, both cockapoos, and Remy, a cocker spaniel – and ignored 15 other dogs, which suggests they knew what they were looking for.“My whole world has been turned upside down,” Cobden said. “There’s a side of me that feels super-angry and feels violated. There’s another side of me that is guilty because I left him there. There’s another side as a parent that I’ve let my children down.

Research what type of pet is best suited for your family’s personality and lifestyle. Dogs require more attention, time and energy than cats do, so if you don’t enjoy walks or hikes in the outdoors, or can’t imagine getting up on cold winter mornings to take your pet out to potty, a cat may be more your style.

“I’m completely determined that I’ll never stop till I get him home. But it’s the unknown. There’s thoughts in my head: is he being fed, watered, safe, is he being abused, is he in a puppy farm, is he being sold on to someone already, who has seen the posts?”

She plans to tell Oscar and his sister when they return from their break. “There’s a fine line of telling the absolute truth and wording it in a way that we don’t scare him,” she said. “When I talk to him I’ll tell him he’s been stolen by some bad people. And just follow their lead.”

Is something wet? Unlike humans who sweat everywhere, dogs only sweat through the pads of their feet.

Derbyshire police have appealed for more information and witnesses, while the family is being supported by the DogLost charity.