What was meant to be a happy reunion for one Washington soldier was instead met with heartache. Brandon Harker says he was astonished to return from leave earlier this month to discover his beloved 2-year-old dog named Oakley was missing.
Harker left the animal with an unidentified friend in Lakewood, Wash., before being deployed to Afghanistan in November, KGW-Portland reports. He learned that his yellow Labrador retriever had been given away while flying back to Joint Base Lewis-McCord near Tacoma. Although the dog was microchipped and registered, the animal has yet to be found. Harker said that some people have claimed to seen the dog listed for sale on Craigslist.
“For as many places I’ve posted I’m surprised I haven’t heard anything yet,” Harker said, describing the missing dog in detail. “He’s a full bred lab yet his coat has spots on it all over his body from his face down to his tail. It’s pretty rare for a lab to have spots.”
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Harker said he didn't know why his friend would get rid of the animal. He has unsuccessfully attempted to press charges against the man, according to his Facebook page, “Help Find Oakley.” “I just want to let everyone know that I did go to the authorities today to file a report,” Harker wrote on Sunday. “I was told that since I gave the dog to someone to be watched while I was gone and they got rid of him there is nothing they can do. It would have to go to a small claims court.”
Harker told WPTV on Friday that Oakley would accompany him on local trips but would frequently stay with his owner's “good friend” while the soldier was overseas. “Every time, while I was gone, I asked about him," Harker said, claiming his friend would always tell him the good was “doing good” but refused to send any recent pictures. “"I'd just like to get him back, safe and sound," he said. "That's about it."