A “heartbroken” 70-year-old has appealed for help to find his missing dog who he believes saved his life when he detected a tumour in his neck.

Miniature English Bull Terrier Monty went missing on Thursday (March 13) while out for a walk in The Birkbeck, off Whitehall Lane in Buckhurst Hill.

Martin Kelly, 70, said his pet disappeared after going behind some bushes and fears he could have been stolen.

Mr Kelly, of Brook Road, Buckhurst Hill, said it is completely out of character for the pedigree dog to wander off and is especially anxious as he believes he owes his life to Monty.

He said: “We got Monty in the March and we didn’t mind letting him up on the sofa for a cuddle.

“After a couple of weeks he started nuzzling into my neck, licking one spot on the right side.

“I thought perhaps it was something to do with sweat on my skin. He kept on doing it.

“I went to the doctors for something unrelated and I asked her about it afterwards.

“A small lump had appeared and I thought he had passed on some germs where he kept licking me.

"The doctor told me to get my wife and go to Whipps Cross, where they told me it could be cancer.

“I had a biopsy and I was diagnosed with throat cancer.

“If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t have known it was there.”

Monty helped Mr Kelly get through months of radiotherapy and chemotherapy afterwards.

Mr Kelly added: “My wife and family and Monty got me through.

“He needed to be walked and I got my strength back up by taking him out.

“My wife and I are heartbroken.

“He is a part of our family and we so want him back. 

"He just ran into the bushes as he always did, but this time he never came out.

“He has never done this. Monty always comes when you call him. We believe he was taken."

Monty is distinctively small, with a height of 15 inches.

Anyone with any information can email Mr Kelly at mrmartinkelly@btinternet.com.