EATONTOWN N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A New Jersey mother saved up all year to buy her twin daughters a new pet – only to find out that a Christmas Grinch stole their present.

As CBS2’s Meg Baker reported, 5-year-old twins Lana and Alani issued an emotional plea to whoever stole their Pomeranian, Tub Tub: “We just want to love him and we just want to take care of him.”

Their mother, Dominique Searight, had arranged a special Christmas surprise. She went over to the Monmouth County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Eatontown around 3 p.m. Christmas Eve to pick him up.

“I came in I did all the paperwork, and I adopted the dog – and got the collar, got the leash, I got everything – and I literally was just waiting for dog to come out,” said Searight, of Neptune.

But the shelter could not find the 9-year-old dog.

“At first, you know, we thought maybe the dog might have been out with a volunteer being walked, or maybe in back being bathed. You know, we searched high and low for the dog and couldn’t find him – and came to realization that someone stole him,” said Ross Licitra, Chief Executive Director of the Monmouth County SPCA.

There was no trace of the 7-pound dog – just an empty kennel near an unlocked exit used for walking dogs.

“On Christmas Eve, it’s very busy here. We’re a really busy all the time, so there’s a lot of commotion going on,” Licitra said. “You know, we don’t lock the kennels for the mere fact that, you know, God forbid if there’s a fire or something, we need to get all of these animals out of here very quickly — all hands on deck.”

Late Tuesday, the shelter was considering putting locks on all the doors so that only employees could freely go in and out.

Exterior surveillance cameras are all Eatontown police have to go on, since the shelter has no interior cameras.

Searight prays the Grinch will return Tub Tub.

“You don’t realize that you spoiled someone’s Christmas,” she said.

Tub Tub was the only gift Searight planned to give her girls, and she is not ready to give up hope and pick another dog just yet.

The Monmouth County SPCA said it has never had a dog stolen before. It is offering a $500 reward for any information on Tub Tub.