Soldier Returns Home to Find Dog Sold
Updated: Friday, August 2 2013, 10:03 AM EDT
When First Lt. Brandon Harker returned home from his deployment to Afghanistan, he says he was speechless to find that his dog and best friend, a yellow lab named Oakley, had been given away by the person entrusted to watch him.
"It's been rough and not getting any easier," Harker told ABCNews.com. "I've owned him for over two years and we used to spend every day together. All my family lives on the East Coast."
Harker has only been back for two weeks and is now on a different mission, doing everything he can to track down his yellow lab. The Pennsylvania native says he's already called every veterinarian clinic and shelter in and around Tacoma, Wash. where he's stationed on Joint Base Lewis-McChord.
But, no luck.
So Harker has taken his search online, posting on craigslist and setting up a Facebook page, even gaining support from strangers touched by his story.
One woman has launched a campaign on the site YouCaring.com, to raise $1500 to be used as a reward for information on Oakley's whereabouts.
Harker was in Afghanistan for nine months and asked a "good friend" who lived in Lakewood, Wash., to take care of Oakley. The soldier says his friend knew how much Oakley meant to him.
"I got back and was told that my dog had been given away. They didn't get the contact information for the person they gave it to," Harker told ABCNews.com.
"They have my parents' phone numbers and everything," Harker told the Tacoma News Tribune. "They could have called my parents and they would have flown out from Pennsylvania to get him."
Harker says that friendship is now over. His days since coming home are spent replying to e-mails and calls, hoping someone scans the microchip on Oakley and contacts him.
On Craigslist, Harker described Oakley as having "a unique coat, on his face he has spots of a darker yellow (champagne). He also has spots of the same color going down his sides and legs."
"I am hopeful that someone will see the stories and postings and that I'll find Oakley safe and sound," said Harker.
If you have any information on Oakley's whereabouts, Brandon Harker asks that you message the "Help Find Oakley" Facebook page.