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A toddler who thought he'd lost his best friend - a border terrier called Morse - has been reunited with the pup after the dog disappeared in December. It's thought that thieves took him to use as a stud for breeding.
Three-year-old Edward Latter was so distraught when Morse disappeared that he wrote a letter to Santa asking for help.
It read: "Dear Father Christmas, I just want one present for Christmas this year, my dog Morse back. I've been a very good boy all year. Thank you, Edward aged two and three quarters."
Clearly wanting to avoid being on the naughty list, Simon Cowell offered a £10,000 reward for anyone who could help find the dog, but nothing happened.
That is, until yesterday, when a couple living about 20 miles from Morden, Kent - where Edward and his parents live - saw a muddy dog walking through their street and thought it looked like Morse.
The couple took the dog in, washed him and called Edward's parents, Richard Latter and Amanda Hopkins, and sent them a photo. The trio then drove to the nearby village of Meopham to make sure it was indeed Morse - and lo and behold it was, much to Edward's delight.
"We have got Morse back. I can't believe it, I have my best friend back,"Metro report him as saying. "It's too late for Christmas but this is the best present ever."
Initially, Richard Latter wasn't sure it would be Morse.
"Me and Amanda were still quite sceptical," said the 40-year-old carpenter.
"Edward saw him and recognised him straight away.
"He just said 'Is that Morse, is Morse coming home with us?' He was absolutely over the moon."
Because the dog at first didn't respond to his name, Edward's parents took the dog to a vet to get his chip scanned, and his identity was confirmed.
"We instantly broke down in tears," Richard said. "I was delirious for a few seconds, it was absolutely wonderful, we were just hugging each other, hugging Edward and hugging the dog.
"It's just surreal, I can't get over it."
Richard believes that Morse was stolen to be used as a stud, after a witness saw two men grabbing the dog and bundling him into a van a few minutes after the dog ran out of the family home.
"My gut instinct was he was taken away and used for stud," Richard said. "That's why he was clipped and trimmed, they were trying to make him more desirable and better looking to be sold on.
"He was either sold on and escaped or escaped from them."
No word on whether Simon Cowell has dished out the money as yet, but the couple who found Morse must be equally delighted.
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