However, the devastation felt by 70-year-old Sue Lee of Sheffield turned to joy on Monday when she was reunited with her beloved eight month-old Tabitha - in mysterious circumstances.
The drama began even before the Scottish Pug Dog Championships started on Sunday when, at about 9.40am, two women walked into the centre and almost immediately walked back out with Tabitha, jumping into a dark Audi and driving off, fruitlessly chased by distraught owner Sue.
It was thought that the Audi had Northern Ireland plates and so a watch was kept for the puppy - valued at around £1200 - at the Scottish ferry ports.
After frantically seeking help wherever she could get it, including spreading the search through social media, Sue got an unusual phone call on Monday from someone claiming to have found Tabitha wandering about alone and offering a rendezvous to hand her back.
A meeting place at Glasgow’s Queen’s Park was suggested by the finder but rejected; they finally agreed to bring Tabitha back to Lanark and she was reunited with an ecstatic Sue in the Agricultural Centre car park.
A friend of Sue said on Tuesday: “We just can’t believe how much people in Scotland helped us. Everybody seemed to share the appeal for information on Tabitha’s whereabouts and I think that might have had something to do with her being returned.”
He added that a happy Monday was rounded off when Sue got back to Sheffield and found another one of her bitches had prematurely given birth to a healthy puppy!