A BULL Terrier named Myrtle was a royal gift - but now her owner thinks she's been dognapped.
Princess Anne gave the 15-week-old puppy to horse trainer Dolly Maude, who is best friends with her daughter Zara Phillips. The dog quickly became part of the family and was adored by Dolly's two children.
However, on Friday last week she was snatched in broad daylight from the Cotswold village of Snowshill. Myrtle's owners are devastated and are pleading for her to return. They fear the puppy, worth up to £1,000, may have been taken to be used in dog fighting.
Dolly, 33, said: "It's heart-breaking. Zara is my best friend and for years I'd been saying that next time they had a puppy I'd like one. It was a generous thing for her to do.
"I've told her what happened and she said she wished she could do something to help."
Dolly's children Billy, eight, and Nell, six, are distraught. She said: "They're very upset. They keep asking 'where's Myrtle?' It's terrible."
The dog went missing at 3.30pm on Friday November 25th. Dolly said: "I dropped her off at a friend's house and she was last seen standing in the lane. She was there one minute and gone the next. The probability of her just vanishing into thin air is unlikely.
"We had a search party out all night looking for her, but she was gone."
In May last year the family's Staffordshire Bull Terrier Basil was taken from outside their home.
"It happens all the time up here," said Dolly. "Staffies and Bull terriers get taken for fighting. They're hard to come by because they're difficult to breed from. They can also be a fashion accessory for blokes who want to look hard.
"You'd think this village is calm and quiet but it's riddled with this sort of stuff going on."
Dolly said Myrtle may have been dumped out in the countryside but it is more likely she will be sold.
"I'm hoping somebody will overhear someone talking about her," she said. I'd offer a huge reward to get her back - whatever it costs."
Myrtle is white with black ears, and is about the size of a Jack Russell.
If anyone has any information they are asked to call Gloucestershire police on 0845 0901234 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.