A Sheboygan, Wis., family is asking anyone to come forward with information about the theft of their 3-year-old purebred West Highland White Terrier and her litter of seven puppies.
The dogs were stolen from A+ Kennel in Crystal Lake Thursday.
But the mother, Lucy Lu, has a special connection to the family. Lucy had an instant bond with their teenage son, Jake Graff, who passed away unexpectedly in 2009.
Jake's mother, Deb, described Lucy Lu as their saving grace during that difficult time and beyond.
"She is not a dog, she is a family member," Graff said.
The Graff's were honoring a contract with Lucy's breeder when they dropped her off in mid-September to give birth to the puppies.
But just a few days after giving birth, the theft occurred.
The kennel's owner says she received a phone call from someone claiming to be a client wanting to drop off a dog. When she left the kennel to go and meet the client, no one showed up, and when she returned, the dogs were gone.
Westie pups are valued between $850 and $2,500 each, which leads kennel owner Carol Koehmstedt to believe that the thieves knew exactly what they were after.
"They had to know about the gate, they had to know about the security," Koehmstedt said.
Anyone with information is asked to call the McHenry County Sheriff's Department.