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HEARTBREAKING: Veteran devastated by theft of his service dog; can you help?

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Max the dog

OLYMPIA — A local disabled veteran says someone stole his service dog in-training from his backyard while he was sleeping.

Now, his beloved pet is gone — And so is his sense of security.

“He didn’t just run away,” Robert Mitchell said. “He wouldn’t take his toy and his blanket with him to run away.”

Mitchell says his dog Max was stolen from his backyard in Olympia sometime between 4:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. Monday.

“I came down at 9 to feed him, and the other dog was here, but he wasn’t,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell had been dog-sitting a friend’s pet — that dog was still in the yard, but Max was missing.

“Immediately searched the neighborhood,” he said.

He checked his entire yard — the 6-foot-tall wooden fence showed no escape routes and his gate was still secured with a lock.

“I never would have imagined in a million years that someone would jump the fence and take him,” Mitchell said.

He filed a police report, and Thurston County sheriff’s deputies knocked on doors in the neighborhood to ask if anyone might have seen Max.

“Never had a dog,” Mitchell said, breaking down in tears. “I feel like … I feel like I let him down.”

He said the thief stole so much more than his beloved dog.

“He’s not just a pet,” Mitchell said.

After serving 20 years in the Army, Mitchell suffers from PTSD and life-threatening seizures.

Max was in training to become a service dog, to alert Mitchell before he has a medical emergency.

Mitchell said he now is suffering from a broken heart.

“Him being gone, it’s just about to kill me,” he said.

He added that he will not press charges, he just wants his dog back.

If anyone knows of Max’s whereabouts, you’re asked to call the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office.

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  • Guest Speaker

    This story makes no sense. I believe there is more to this idiotic story than has been told.
    Service dogs are meant to be with the person they work for around the clock.
    Why was the dog kept outside?
    If he didn't need a service dog he should not have been given one.
    I feel sorry for the dog not the thoughtless, stupid, irresponsible guy in the story.

  • ModestPrude

    yes, I am smelling a scam. this guy would never have had a SERVICE dog sleeping outside. they are supposed to stay right by their human at all times.

  • Sunny

    Service dogs are also trained before being assigned to a person.

    I suspect this guy thought he'd get more publicity if he said "my service dog was stolen" than if he reported "my puppy ran away".

  • ESA user

    Yeah, you don't train your own dog EXCEPT in the case of ESA's, but that animal (baby) would have been inside if he was to be an Emotional Support Animal. An ESA is not going to warn about seizures. Something is not quite accurate here.

    • AK4

      Dogs can absolutely be trained to be service dogs after being adopted/bought by someone. They just have to have the right temperament and receive adequate training and be licensed. There are also many bully breed dogs used as therapy dogs, service dogs and other working dogs, so it's not highly unlikely that they will pass the ESA, Canine good citizen and service/working dog tests.

  • ESA user

    … and a pit is highly unlikely to pass the ESA test as it involves how the animal will interact with the public, toddlers, indoors etc. and how th epublic will react to them. Sorry for your loss brah I hope you get your puppy back.

  • ptsd vet

    hey ese yoi have no idea about ptsd service dogs and for your info pits are the numer 1 option do to the sensory recption of the owner and if you ask why the dog is outside its possible that the safety zones for this vet includes that area i have a blue nose pit assigned to me i got her as a puppy and went thru the classes together to create that senory bond but since its a pit most places refuse to believe shes a service dog i have to carry papers her papers everywhere and dont tell me to call the ada ive been there done that its more trouble than its worth

    • Guest

      My neighbor's pit bull is a certified therapy dog. Bean goes to the University of Pittsburgh to help students relax during finals.

      Pitties make great therapy dogs because they are so smart. I'm sorry that you have to carry her certification papers everywhere. I know that people with goldens or other traditional therapy dogs don't have to do that.

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