BRAZEN thieves broke into a family home and stole a pedigree dog which featured in Vogue magazine.
Natalja Murphy said she, her husband and her children were devastated when their miniature Yorkshire terrier, Olive, was snatched.
The one-year-old terrier had been given to Natalja's seven-year-old daughter by her dying grandmother, who passed away last April.
The pet was taken from inside the Murphy home in Galbally, Co Wexford, on February 19 around 9.30pm while Natalja's two children Hazel and Michael (4) were asleep upstairs.
"Olive is an inside house dog and never was outside by herself," Natalja told the Herald.
"She weighs only two kilograms and she's not capable of being outside.
"The people who took her must have known that she was there and must have watched the house where we live in rural Wexford just waiting for their right moment.
"I was away in London on a business trip myself, but it terrifies me to think that my two kids were asleep upstairs and that my husband was at home."
After seeing a shadow pass by their kitchen window, Natalja's husband Michael went outside to investigate what was happening.
"He went out the front door and grabbed a man by the shoulder and asked him what he was doing looking around," Natalja explained.
"He said he was selling something, but my husband told him, 'You're not selling anything', and then told him to go."
Natalja believes that while her husband was dealing with the stranger and distracted, someone else entered the home and snatched their pet.
"It makes it even more terrifying to think it happened while people were in the house," she said. "It all happened in a matter of seconds."
She added that her daughter Hazel was heartbroken to have lost her faithful companion.
And she told how Olive's theft has had a devastating effect on the rest of the Murphy family. "I'm sleepless and I can't eat," Natalja said.
"I've lost nearly half a stone. We are all just so sad and are looking for her everywhere, but there has been no sign."
Olive has always been treated a like a member of the Murphy family and has been used in photographs taken by Natalja, who is a photographer by trade
She even had a picture of the little dog and her daughter outside their hometown in Galbally published in an issue of Italian Vogue.
"She is really active and friendly, she looks like a little lion with her haircut and we have always had her professionally groomed," Natalja said.
Gardai in Wexford have been doing all that they can to help search for Olive, and the family have also put up posters in their locality and launched a Facebook campaign.
Olive has some identifying features – she is micro-chipped, has a docked tail has nine nipples, which is an unusual number to have,
The thieves made their getaway in a blue Ford Transit van with no visible number plate.