FOUR-YEAR-OLD Ronnie Goodridge has lost his best friend.
The youngster, who has autism, has been left devastated after his beloved dog Marley was stolen from the family home.
His parents bought the Staffordshire bull terrier five months ago to help bring their son out of his shell, and were amazed by the friendship the two formed.
Now mum Gemma Denham is appealing to whoever took the pooch to return him and help put a smile back on her son’s face.
Miss Denham of Middle Park Way, Leigh Park, said: ‘Ronnie is absolutely distraught, Every time a dog barks, he asks if it’s Marley. It’s heartbreaking.
‘Marley was the best thing I ever did for my son. He’s really helped with Ronnie’s autism.
‘Ronnie doesn’t interact with other children so hasn’t got any friends. Marley was his best friend – they were inseparable.
‘Ronnie was used to the routine of looking after Marley as well. He’ll still come down in the morning and tell me we have to let him out. He doesn’t understand where Marley’s gone.
‘He’s so upset. He even stopped talking for a while.’
Fourteen-month old Marley was taken on Tuesday, March 1, between 10am and 11am. The thief is believed to have entered the house through the front door – which was closed but unlocked – and taken Marley from his basket in the kitchen.
Miss Denham said: ‘Please whoever has him, we just want him back.’
Police have investigated the theft and are now appealing for anyone with any information to contact Havant police station on 101.
Or you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.