A FAMILY is in mourning after their beloved dog died during a journey to meet them as they looked for a new home in Spain.

Skye, a rare 16-month-old Husky/German Shepherd cross, was collected by a driver from his Benfleet home on Saturday, June 4, and was meant to be reunited with his owner, Tanya Louise.

Tanya, who has asked the Echo not to reveal her surname, had travelled with her partner James to Malaga on Monday, June 6, where they planned to assess the area with a view to finding a permanent home with their seven-year-old son.

Skye was meant to be dropped off with the family last Monday, June 13, by the Ireland-based firm Joni Fitz Distribution company, but sadly that never happened.

Tanya, 34, said: "At 3pm Monday I messaged him (delivery driver) "do you have a rough time, we are so excited to see him" and he said "I'll call you in 20 minutes.

"An hour later he called. The minute I answered I heard something had happened in his voice. He said "I've lost your dog". I just cried and put the phone down."

Tanya told how the family was told that Skye had escaped the distribution company's warehouse on Sunday.

She added: "That night we went out searching for Skye all around the area hoping he would come trotting round the corner to our voices, we then waited for sun to rise as I had a gut feeling something bad had happened."

Skye's body was eventually found in a ditch last Tuesday.

Tanya says they have yet to be given an explanation for his death from the company, but added a vet had said the dog would have been dead for at least seven days by the time he was found.

A spokesman for the distribution company said due to a family bereavement they were unable to give any more details when approached by the Echo on Friday, although the spokesman said they would issue a full comment "in time".

Tanya and James have vowed they will not rest until they find out exactly what happened.

She said: "Skye was my best friend. We had the most exciting walks together in the UK and I was looking forward to having evening walks in Spain together.

"We had a beautiful relationship. Skye was an amazing family dog and thought he was one of us, he meant the world to me.

"All I want now is the truth."