Ruby and Beetle…the nightmare continues

Ruby and Beetle, Mother and Daughter Stolen/Missing… 28/12/19

Twelve months down the line and I have been asked to write my personal story and the harrowing effects that this awful situation has had on us all.

I will go back to Friday 28th December 2018. The day they went missing, I will briefly fill you in on the unfolding circumstances surrounding their disappearance and the series of events that have followed since. My husband is the Head Gamekeeper on Lothian Estates, he has worked on the Estate in this position for 19 years, he knows the lay of the land like the back of his hand.

Everyday day in life I exercised Ruby and Beetle, if we weren’t out running, we were out walking, those 2 little dogs went everywhere with me, they knew exactly what we were doing by what I was wearing. Ruby and Beetle never wore collars, they were trained to a whistle and they never left my side unless to chase a rabbit or hare which unfortunately would jump up in front of us, spurring them on and they’d disappear in full speed only to return 2 minutes later when they realised they were being outrun. This was quite usual, I never panicked, I knew those dogs so well, I never worried about their return as they knew the Estate better than my husband, they would always returned to my side, but on the odd occasion they didn’t, they’d appear home before me.

We live in an idealistic place, rural, fields, woods, plenty of lovely long walks, of which I was never without my faithful loyal little friends.

That fateful a Friday afternoon, approx 1.20pm we were walking through a wood and they were both just in front of me, I will never ever forget that image as it was the last time I saw them both, I took my eyes off them for a second and they were gone, obviously chasing something exciting. I came out of the end of the wood expecting to see them both, whistling and calling their names, but I heard and saw nothing they had disappeared. Five minutes would pass and the dread set in, my stomach started churning, I knew deep down this wasn’t right, call it gut instinct but I knew they had gone, it just wasn’t normal. As I walked across a stubble heading towards home all the time whistling and shouting for them both, I saw what I believed to be Ruby on the horizon, just up a hill barely in sight, but my husband who was running a small shoot that day, was just over the crest of that hill and the gunshots were loud and clear, a sound very familiar to Ruby and Beetle as I climbed a gate to head that way, I looked up and she had gone.

My husband picked me up, we went home, I immediately drove the old works truck, a vehicle they were also very familiar with back to the wood where I last saw them, my husband went to every hole in the vicinity listening, he didn’t fully leave that wood for 5 days, he used night vision, left clothing, the vehicle parked up and the doors open, he dug up every hole hoping to uncover them, but deep down I knew he wasting his time, I knew they had gone. I also knew that Beetle would never go underground she had never shown any interest in going down a hole, if Beetle had returned and not Ruby I would have accepted the situation, as Ruby was the adventurer, she was wise and clever and although I knew she went down holes she never stayed down them. We had known Beetle to appear without Ruby and if you asked where her Mum was she’d actually take you to the hole and you would always find Ruby.

I knew that day they had been picked up on the B6400, a back road between Nisbet and Roxburghe. I couldn’t get the thought of them both out of my head, when they realised that they weren’t getting a lift home. I was heartbroken, I wept buckets, I couldn’t eat or sleep.

Ruby & Beetle

We were accepting everyone’s help and advice, we rang DogLost, registered them as missing, rang the local rescue centres, we hung posters, offered a reward, and I was advised to set up a Facebook group which we did Missing, Ruby and Beetle, we were on the local radio stations, newspapers, even some of the national newspapers ran our story.

The days that immediately followed were dark, I found myself unable to function, I cried at their empty beds, their bowls, the quiet house, I asked the children to take down the Christmas decorations as we had nothing to celebrate, we cancelled all our New Year Plans, my family all suffering themselves, slowly watched me disappear into what became my new world, the dark side of Dog Theft. It engulfs you, it eats you up, the despair and devastation it causes.

I began writing a daily blog on their Facebook group, every day gaining new members, I was receiving constant messages of support and advice reading similar stories, some gave me comfort, some made me angry, some determined me to do something, I learned so much about stolen/missing dogs, puppy farms, the failing microchip system, I began to share everything with the group.

We upped the reward from one thousand pounds to five thousand pounds and then a huge ten thousand pounds, accepting the kind generous offers of financial help from the group. Whilst I was busy researching every aspect of dog theft and sharing my findings, the Facebook group was extremely pro-active and we posted out hundreds and hundreds of leaflets and posters out.

We obviously received a few hoax phone calls asking for the reward money, offering us names and addresses for cash, people saying they knew exactly where they were but weren’t giving us any information until we paid them upfront. We had been warned and expected these calls. Thankfully we haven’t had that many and accepted advice on how to deal with them.
What we have endured and cruelly had to accept, is that there are people out there who obviously get their kicks out of making our situation worse. People who have used our misery and circumstance to their advantage.

One instance was a man who rang me up and convinced me he had bought Ruby and Beetle in good faith, he then told me he had seen an advert we had placed looking for them. He was extremely convincing, getting his own kids to talk to me, using my own children’s devastation to tell me he wished to return them knowing exactly what we were going through, wishing to do the right thing by everyone especially my children. He would in kind, deliver them anywhere, didn’t want any reward money, just his initial outlay for them covered.

In my head, they were coming home. How wrong was I! He had agreed to meet at a vets, where he would receive the money once their microchip numbers had been read and confirmed as Ruby and Beetle. He rang the vets himself, confirmed they were expecting him and the money was there, he never showed up. I can’t put into words how crushed I was that we had been led a merry dance. At what point did he expect to receive the money without Ruby and Beetle?

We also discovered in August that Beetle’s microchip had been run through a chip checker tool online, this has happened several times now but due to the GDPR act we have been unable to find out any more information, the Police have been working with us on this, and unfortunately, it is a highly complex area which I can’t go into detail about.

There had been may highs and lows throughout the past 12 months, I have made some fantastic friends and have support which without, I really don’t think I’d be where I am today. A valuable group member came up with the idea of stickers on Christmas Cards, parcels, etc, we posted out over 210,000 stickers leading up to Christmas all being distributed across the UK and worldwide

We had 2 huge Banners made which also, with help from various members and friends we have displayed at County Shows, roadsides, shows and car boot sales.

Just before Christmas, we received an extremely generous offer of a further £10,000 pounds launching our new appeal £20K for Christmas, which unfortunately hasn’t resulted in any information coming forward to lead to their safe return.

I have always maintained throughout this campaign that Ruby and Beetle are alive they were taken by someone who happened upon them, an opportunist, it wasn’t calculated as no one would know I was there, that person either still has them or passed them to one another and it stops there.

The reward we have on offer has always been for information leading to their safe return, surely if they had been passed around someone would have come forward. Whether our campaign hasn’t reached the person or persons who have them, they may not be on Social Media but we need to find them. Theft by finding or whether they thought they were abandoned, Ruby and Beetle belong here at Woodside, they are my little dogs. Has the person who has the fallen in love with them and is reluctant to come forward, are they looking at them now as their family members.

I can’t give up on them, Ruby and Beetle would never have given up on me, as a family we have been on the most horrendous journey, we have been tested on so many levels, and until you have worn the shoes of dog theft and experienced the effects, you will never understand the true destruction it has on your life.

We are fortunate to have received so much support of which we are extremely grateful for. Everyday we continue to receive phone calls and messages. I long for the day we get the phone call we are praying for, the one that tells us that Ruby and Beetle have been located or found.


Ruby’s timeline:

Beetle’s timeline:

Message from me (Will): The story of these 2 missing Border Terrier’s has always touched me, the thought of my two Border’s going missing and how traumatised and upset I would be with no answers, longing for my beloved friends to come home. This story is so close to home, in fact, as I write this, I sit beside Wellie & Cherrie praying it never happens to them. Georgie, my heart goes out to you and your family and I pray they return home soon.



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