The mission to recover 'Biggie', an adorable British bulldog stolen from a Gold Coast home a week ago, has turned into a huge social media campaign.
Nadine Steedman first posted a heartfelt plea for the beloved family pet's return on Facebook on March 21. Since then, her regular updates on the search for Biggie have prompted thousands of online comments and re-shares.
'I’m not going to lie, my hope is fading and with every sunset my heart hurts knowing that our boy is still in the hands of a complete stranger, and everyday without you is a day closer to maybe never finding you,' Nadine wrote a few days after the two-year-old bulldog went missing.
Nadine Steedman had posted a series of heartbreaking messages about the missing pet
'Biggie' was taken from the Steedmans backyard and is believed to be in the Beenleigh area
Bulldogs have become a regular target for dog-nappers because of their high value
'What is breaking our hearts more then anything is the unknown. Is he warm? Is he sad? Is he happy? Is he wondering why we aren’t with him?'
Ms Steedman believes Biggie was stolen from their Gaven home on the northern Gold Coast by teens from the Beenleigh-Homeview area south of Brisbane, with the intention to sell him. She told Daily Mail Australia there had been four sightings of Biggie in the area since he'd gone missing.
'The campaign has got so big because he's a very unique looking bulldog,' Ms Steedman said. 'But also because people are just sick of these kids pinching people's pets from homes, particularly bulldogs. The breed have become like prestige cars for kids.'
Ms Steedman said she knew of a friend who recently had a seven-week old bulldog pup pinched from a cage inside a home.
The family had offered a $3000 reward for the bulldog's return. They also printed t-shirts and distributed flyers, and undertook a door-knocking campaign to see if anyone had information on their pet's disappearance.
'The police have been looking but they also have a lot of other stuff to do - COVID and everything,' said Ms Steedman.
A pet detective service had also been employed to try and find Biggie.
Nadine Steedman said breeds like Biggie are being treated like 'prestige cars' by dog-nappers
Ms Steedman's children have had t-shirts made up as they continue the search for their dog
RSPCA Queensland spokesperson Michael Beatty told 7News Gold Coast that, anecdotally, dog-napping was on the rise.
'A lot of those are designer breeds and the reason for that is money,' said Beatty. 'We think there could be a black market for those types of dogs.'
'I don't believe in psychic stuff at all,' said Ms Steedman, 'but when I'm up in the area where we think he's gone missing, I can just feel him there.
'It's been more than a week now and we just want him home. My youngest daughter, Tia, in particular, is his best friend and is really upset.'
Ms Steedman said it was possible the reward would be further increased in the coming days to entice the return of Biggie to the family.