The owner of a dog that went missing during a walk in the Arrochar Alps almost a month ago says she will not give up the search for her beloved pet.
Natalie Crawford, from Paisley, was five minutes from the summit of Beinn Ime in the southern Highlands when Gizmo disappeared.
She said: “The clouds came in and separated us, and he just vanished with no sighting of him since.
“I’ve been searching almost every single day and I camped at the summit for three nights after he went missing, but again there was still no sign of him.
“I was living out at a cottage in Cairndow and now I’m at a caravan at Dunoon because they’re closer to the area than Paisley, where I’m from. I think I’ve only been home two or three nights since he disappeared.
“My life has just stopped completely.”
Share his story as far as possible
Three-year-old Gizmo is a Staffordshire bull terrier/American bulldog cross, so he is “a bit bigger than the typical staffie”.
It was the pair’s first time climbing the mountain so he is not familiar with the area, but as a month has now passed Miss Crawford says he could have travelled really far from there.
She continued: “The area where he could be is so massive so I want to get his story out as far as possible and keep him in people’s minds. I’m praying that I am lucky enough for someone to get a sighting of him.
“We have set up trail cameras in different areas. They’ve not picked up anything of him yet but we’re still hopeful. At the moment, it is just guess work, but one sighting would give me an idea of where to look.
“Obviously, when the area has been really hot I haven’t been out because he wouldn’t be moving around in that heat, he’ll be tucked away. We’ve mainly been canvassing and checking trail cameras when it’s quieter and cooler.
Based on advice from dog searchers, the group looking for Gizmo has been kept small so high footfall does not force him to retreat further into survival mode.
“We decided to let the cameras do the work alongside the incredible people I have been working with.
“A couple from Drone Search and Rescue for lost dogs have been with me from the very start and a woman from Arrochar Mountain Rescue has been out searching as well, looking in some of the more dangerous areas just off her own back.
“I managed to get a hold of a professional drone as well. A really kind man called Kevin from Airtech Integrity came all the way from Auchterarder and spent a full day with us launching it in three separate areas.
“Unfortunately, we had no luck but he did say if there are any sightings he would come straight back with the drone.”
Throughout lockdown there has been a rise in dog thefts, which is something Miss Crawford says has been in the “back of her mind”.
A big thank you
Since his disappearance, Miss Crawford has been sharing updates and appealing for help through her Gizmo Missing Facebook page, which has gained more than 2,500 followers in the past month.
She said: “People have been so kind and generous with their time. Some people have let me borrow equipment and a few trail cameras have been donated by search and recue groups, too.
“I’d like to say thank you to everybody who has helped out so far, it’s been really appreciated. And, I also ask that locals please keep their eyes peeled and no matter how insignificant they think something might be, to just let me know so I can follow it up.
“I’m just praying I get him back.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact 07776 024930 or see the poster above.