A 23-year-old soldier deployed in Afghanistan may be getting his dog back after his ex-girlfriend sold it on Craigslist — all thanks to strangers who fought for its return.
The soldier, Robert Gabbert, who is based in Fort Collins, Colo., left his dog, Baxter, with his former girlfriend when he was deployed overseas in March. A few months ago, she told his father she was having trouble caring for the dog and, rather than return it to the family, she sold it online, according to news reports.
“She never did call me” to arrange for the dog’s return, Gabbert’s father, Robert, told the Daily Mail. “Next thing we hear, she’d gone and sold him on the Internet.”
The ex-girlfriend has not been named.
The incident, which has gained national attention in the past week, ignited some outcry. It started when Gabbert learned his 3-year-old Shiba Inu had been sold and he posted a desperate plea on Craigslist:
I am currently deployed and my ex sold my dog. I just found out and I am trying to find the people (person) who bought him. I will pay anything to get him back. His name is Baxter and he is an Shiba Inu. I do not have my phone with me. You can email me. The phone number is my mom’s she is helping me locate him. If you have any information PLEASE give us a call or an email.
The note went viral and turned into a mission for Baxter’s safe return.
Gabbert’s family found out the pooch was purchased by a military family. His mother, Karen, reached out to them. However, when she did, she said the new owners, who have not been identified, were reluctant to give up the pup. They said their children had become attached.
“They keep saying they have children that are attached,” she told KOAA. “Well my child is attached to the dog. Just because he’s older doesn’t mean he’s not my child.”
So strangers rallied together.
Someone who saw Gabbert’s plea created a Facebook page called “Help Bring Baxter Home.” Supporters raised about $1,400 to pay the new owners in exchange for the dog.
Even the Colorado Shiba Inu Rescue, a nonprofit organization, offered to find a new puppy for that family, ABC News reported.
Then, earlier this week, KOAA reported the two families were working on an agreement. The Facebook page has since been removed.
KOAA posted on its Facebook page:
We just got word from organizers of the ‘Help Bring Baxter Home 2014′ Facebook page that they have the family’s word that Baxter will be returned to Robby. They are still reaching an agreement, but the Facebook page has been removed at the family’s request.
“I think the people that bought the dog and read the stories and felt bad,” Gabbert’s father told the Daily Mail. “I guess, there has been so many people supporting Robbie, that the family came forward with the dog and they’re going to return it.”
Neither Gabbert nor his mother immediately returned messages seeking comment early Thursday morning.