WHEN family dog Archie went missing, the worst possible scenarios ran through Louise Turner's head.
The Dicky Beach woman could not help imagining what could have become of the beloved staffy.
She feared the worst until a phone call from the Sunshine Coast Council pound.
Archie had been found, but it looked like someone else had tried to claim him as their own.
The 18-month-old pup was wearing a new, unfamiliar collar when he was reunited with his family on March 31.
Ms Turner is angry someone would simply claim her family's dog as their own, instead of taking him to a vet to have him checked for a microchip.
"It's devastating someone can do that when there are so many other animals out there who don't have a home," she said.
"It caused us such unnecessary heartache. It's theft by find as far as I'm concerned.
"We're so happy and grateful to have Archie back, but I'm so upset that someone had taken him as their own without following the proper channels to see if he already had a home."
Ms Turner was returning her grandmother's ashes to her home town of Horsham, in Victoria, when she received a call from her children to say Archie had gone missing.
"It was like my heart had been taken out and put on a shelf," Ms Turner said.
Archie was last seen in the family's back yard on March 19.
He was not wearing his collar at the time as it had been wet and removed to dry out.
It was believed he got out of the yard through a gate accidentally left open.
In Ms Turner's absence, children Sophie and James got to work on getting the word out on Archie's disappearance.
They placed classified advertisements in the Daily, made contact with local veterinarians, council, police and anyone else who would listen.
They also shared their details on the Lost Pets Sunshine Coast Facebook page, where owners who have lost pets or anyone else who has found them can post their details.
When Ms Turner returned home on March 29, she got to work herself, handing out and posting an estimated 100 flyers around town and chasing up possible sightings.
She had been willing to offer up to $1000 for Archie's safe return before that fateful phone call from the pound - almost 10 days after he disappeared.
She said the ordeal highlighted the importance of what to do when someone comes across a lost pet.
"Just because Archie wagged his tail at someone else did not mean he had chosen them - he does that to everyone.
"He's a staffy - that's what they do."
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