A Soldier’s Epic Quest to Find His Missing Dog

Upon returning from deployment in Afghanistan, Brandon Harker discovered that his Labrador was missing. Now strangers on the Internet have joined his mission to help find the animal

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Brandon Harker

Serviceman Brandon Harker is on a mission to recover his Labrador, and the internet has responded in full force.

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.

13 comments
FedUptoo
FedUptoo

You are not going to believe this. 

 On Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013 a Craigslist ad was posted shortly after noon in the Spokane, Washington area (Deer Park) that showed a dog that looked just like his missing dog, Oakley.  

 Despite repeated attempts to get the person to respond to the emails, they refuse.  

 So Brandon is left with no way to get to the dog!!!! 

Now even people in that area are trying to help - but there is not enough media attention to get the job done.  

The facebook posting is at: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Help-Find-Oakley/283805531761221?ref=br_tf           

and the craigslist posting is at:  http://spokane.craigslist.org/laf/4097032728.html 

zbedoll
zbedoll

Hi, we are PACT for Animals, a 501(c)(3) that connects pre-screened foster families with military members and local hospital patients who need temporary pet care. I wish Brandon had known about our organization, because this is exactly what we are here to prevent. We are currently in the PA-NY area but aim to expand throughout the entire USA within 5 years, so that horror stories like Brandon and Oakley's will never happen again. Please go to our website www.PACTforAnimals.org or call 610-581-4141 for more info, to donate, or to become a foster family yourself. We thank the military for their service to our country, I hope we can give them some peace of mind and hope in return. 

RosaCaldwell
RosaCaldwell

Breaks my heart. Wish there was something more we could do to find  this best friend. Can;t the one who got rid of him to do something to track him down. He must have some idea where he is. It more than likely was local. Has someone checked all the shelters, rescue groups, humane societies, the vets. Have pictures been posted? You say there is a reward, what about putting an picture ad in the main newspaper? Our local NBC station has played a spot several times on prime TV. Have you contacted the ASPCA and the Humane Society of the United States? There is also the North Shore Animal Society. My heart breaks for you. I can't even imagine how badly you feel. My prayers are with you always. What about your base housing, can they help in any way? Thank you for serving your country. You sure didn't deserve this.

NancyRosa
NancyRosa

We are all working very hard at trying to find Oakley. The reward is $2500 for information that leads to him or his return. No questions will be asked. Brandon just wants his best friend back. 


MarciaHanff
MarciaHanff

There is a dog that looks like this that was found at the Washingtion Animal Hospital in Whittier Ca. Posted today 8-5-13

nita.peters1
nita.peters1

I think most of us would be just as willing to go on a hunt for the "friend!"

magehdg
magehdg

Oh come on people...lets have some faith here !!! I am praying for this soldier to get his dog back....If you all throw in the towel now we are done. I read there is money being collected for a reward. I think  it said 750.00 so far...Just keep hoping. God does wonderful thinks when he hears well intentioned, heartfelt prayers.

Genalmoore
Genalmoore

Sadly I think the so called "friend" didn't give the dog away, but probably took him to the pound and he may have been put down.  Have there been any updates or leads on the dog at all?  Very sad indeed and I would have to  put my foot up someone's ass if they dispensed of my fur baby after agreeing to care for it . For the person that said service people should not have pets... should they not have children or families either?  Service people do deserve happy home lives just like the rest of us.  The difference is, this gentleman was DEPLOYED in order to protect US and serve his country and unfortunately trusted a piece of sh** to care for his animal.   Despicable.

dannyboi
dannyboi

I wouldn't call that a friend!  What kinds of sick mind would give away someone else's dog when they trusted them to take care of him?

Prettyleft
Prettyleft

Since this man's believed at the time 'friend" has not been more forthcoming (either at the time he felt he had to get rid of the dog or later) I fear that either the dog was dispensed with or even sold to some person who received payment for promptly handing the dog over to become a lab animal.  Any caring person who knew s/he now had the man's dog would let him know.  And a good dog owner would have taken her, as a new pet, to the vet for a checkup.  Sadly, I d believe that if one chooses to be a soldier, s/he should refrain from becoming a pet owner unless there are family/real friends who have agreed in advance to care for the animal.

cjh2nd
cjh2nd

what the f--k kind of a friend gives away your dog while you're deployed? what a p.o.s.

earthshoes39
earthshoes39

@Prettyleft  Unfortunately, sometimes we don't find out who our real friends are until one fails us.