Gerry Leigh may still be a young dog, but he quickly become a hit with locals in Whangārei. But the rare breed of Labrador has gone missing and his owners fear he has been stolen after he disappeared on Monday.
Owner Dot Ngatai said every morning he goes for a walk with her husband Peita and they collect rubbish along the way.
Gerry Leigh has been trained to pick up litter, is very obedient and loved by everyone, Dot told 1 NEWS.
But after their walk Monday, Peita was tending to the garden while Gerry Leigh was running around the water at Whangārei Heads.
After 15 to 20 minutes of not seeing the 16-month-old fox red Labrador, Peita called out to him but he never returned.
Gerry Leigh isn't neutered but he doesn't normally stray far, Dot said. Pieta ran around the neighbours but no one had seen him.
Dot said he's feared stolen because everybody knows him.
"He's far too friendly and loves everybody, he just rolls over for pats," she said.
"We've had lots of tearful times, hopefully someone brings him back.
"We just need to get him home."
When asked what it would mean to have him home, Dot got emotional: "Oh my god, it would mean everything to us".
The family are offering a reward for him to be returned home and is urging anyone with information to come forward, even if they made contact anonymously.
The family waited a long time for Gerry Leigh. They wanted to be retired so they could look after him well and fell in love with his unique breeding, which is uncommon in New Zealand.
"He's really for out companionship," Dot said.
Gerry Leigh is wearing a collar and is microchipped, but is yet to be surrendered to a pound or vet clinic. He has also a distinctive small white spot under his chest as is common with the fox reds.
If you have information on the whereabouts of Gerry Leigh contact Dot at email@example.com