When First Lieutenant Brandon Harker left the country for a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan, he also left his beloved dog, Oakley, in the care of a friend in Washington State. But upon Harker’s return home this month, the serviceman discovered that his friend had gotten rid of his yellow Labrador retriever.
Now, Harker is on a mission to get the dog back.
Since the dog’s temporary caretaker didn’t know the name or phone number of the dog’s new owner, the serviceman has taken his rescue mission to the internet. He posted a Craigslist ad asking for information about Oakley’s whereabouts on July 24, noting, “I am just trying to get him back to me since he was wrongfully given away or sold with out my permission while I was deployed.”
His Facebook group “Help Find Oakley” has already garnered over 5,000 likes and received scores of messages from people who found yellow Labs that might be Oakley. A woman named Nancy Rosa even started an online fundraiser to raise money for a reward upon safe return, which has collected $750 as of Tuesday afternoon.
Harker bought the dog, who he described “a very big baby,” while he was stationed in Fort Benning in western Georgia in 2011, about a year after joining the Army, according to CNN. Since then, he’s taken Oakley with him to each new domestic stationing and given him to friends while deployed abroad. The dog has a microchip embedded under his skin, which would allow Harker to identify him upon his return.