Olympic swimmer Tom Dean's beloved black Labrador has been missing for nearly 10 months – and his other two rescues are missing her dearly.
Lola, a seven-year-old Lab, vanished on October 7 last year – and despite being chipped and neutered, still hasn't found her way back home.
She was with her brother Yogi, playing in a field near their home in behind River Road towpath in Taplow, Buckinghamshire TeamDogs reports .
Tom, 21, became a doubleOlympicgold medallist on Wednesday morning after winning both the 200m freestyle individual and 4x200m relay race with Team GB.
Carole Hughes, Tom's Aunt, has taken charge of a Facebook campaign to find the missing pet and hopes his good fortune will boost their efforts.
Three days after Lola went missing the family launched a group called ‘LOLA MISSING – TAPLOW, BUCKS SL6’ and it now has a community of more than 2,000 members desperate to see her return home safe.
Carole explained what happened on the day Lola went missing.
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She said: “My sister Jacquie and her partner Nick did their usual early morning walk with the dogs. Right behind their house are some fields where the dogs always go for their early morning run.
"My sister had gone in, sorted the bowls out, put the breakfast down and said, ‘Is Lola back?’ and that was it. Nothing.”
The family searched tirelessly around the local area with the help of neighbours and authorities but to no avail.
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Carole said: “We hacked through hedgerows, put posters everywhere, put it on local press and radio. We thought, suddenly we’d get a call or she’d turn up at the front door.
“It’s absolutely devastating.”
Some people have questioned why Tom hasn't mentioned Lola during his interviews while at the Olympics but this has been dismissed by his family.
Carole added: “Please don’t think Tom doesn’t think about her. You can’t understand the life of an athlete and what they go through, we can’t expect him to get straight out of the water and talk about the dog.
“That isn’t why he’s there. He’s been training for this since he was eight. It’s about him and his achievements, you can’t take that away.”
Tom Dean is one of five siblings and the loss has affected the whole family, from the Lola shaped hole in her bed to the lack of her cheekily jumping up for her favourite treat of cheese.
The family’s other two rescue dogs even leave a space when cuddling, where Lola should be.
Hopes remain for a happy ending as the family read stories of other dogs who have been reunited with owners after years.
Carole also writes a letter to Lola on the Facebook page on the 7th of each month to keep momentum up for the search.
The last one read, “Reminders are all around… no ears pricking up at the sound of your lead being picked up or your biscuit tin lid coming off. We love you, we miss you, WE ARE LOOKING FOR YOU.”
Tom Dean is the first British Olympic swimmer to win more than one Olympic gold medal in any Olympics since 1908, 113 years ago.
“It’s a massive hole in the family, it really is,” says Carole.
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