A distraught dog owner has made a heart-wrenching appeal for the return of his 17-year-old Jack Russell who is believed to be one of the oldest in Blackpool.
It was 1998, Tony Blair was Prime Minister and the Spice Girls had just released their hit single ‘Viva Forever’ when Stephen Wainwright, from Ledbury Road, Normoss, bought Jack Russell George from a small farm off the M55. Since then, the pair have been inseperable.
But now Stephen faces the devastating prospect of going through his first Christmas in 17 years without his little dog, who went missing in Stanley Park on West Park Drive on December 9.
Stephen, who works as an electrician, says he had walked George around the lake ‘hundreds of times’ before, and was used to walking ahead of his elderly dog, who liked to go at his own pace.
He said: “I just turned around and he was gone.
“I spent the next two or three hours until around 10pm searching for him but there was no sign of him. He was just gone. We haven’t even had sightings or anything.”
Since then, more than 40 volunteers, including dog walkers and park wardens, have rallied together in the hunt for George – but have had little success.
Stephen said: “I went into the vets and put signs up in the park and I was hopeful that he would be returned to me. Now as each day goes by I lose a little more hope.
“It’s been on the internet and blasted across Facebook at every angle imaginable but there’s been nothing.”
He added that George, who is 86-years-old in dog years, refused to let his old age get in the way of having fun, and could have easily wandered off to explore on his own.
He said: “He was totally full of mischief.
“Even at 17 and a half years old he was forever getting himself into things.
“He still had the energy to go around with us even for an hour’s walk. He made friends with everybody and didn’t have a bad bone in his body.
“It’s just so cruel. It’s not fair for him to go this way because there’s no closure.
“It’s like losing a child.”
George is described as a white Jack Russell with sandy-coloured patches and a full tail, with some black markings on his face. He was wearing a black coat with a reflective stripe on it the night he went missing.
He is microchipped and neutered.
The oldest living Jack Russell in the UK was believed to be 25-year-old Meg from Stoke-on-Trent.
In an interview in November last year, Meg’s owner David Abrahams said his four-legged pal had developed a taste for fish fingers and Peppa Pig pasta shapes.
Have you seen 17-year-old George or know where he is now? Call Stephen Wainwright on 07970 729880.