Lewis-McChord soldier pleads for dog's safe return

LAKEWOOD, Wash. - A Joint-base Lewis McChord soldier had a sad surprise when he returned home from deployment.

Army First Lieutenant Brandon Harker arrived home from a 8-month deployment to Afghanistan to find his 2-year-old yellow labrador retriever was either given away or sold while he was gone.

Harker left his dog, Oakley, with a trusted friend who agreed to watch the dog. During deployment, Harker would check-in with his friend who said Oakley was doing fine. Harker says he also asked for, but never received photos of Oakley.

When Harker confronted his friend, the friend said he "didn't know" who he gave Oakley to.

Had he known Oakley was not in safe hands, Harker says his parents would have driven from out-of-state to take care of the dog.

After posting a plea using social media, Harker learned his dog may have been given away or sold on Craiglist, without his permission. It's believed to have happened in May, but could have been anytime from November 2012 through June 2013, Harker says.

The yellow lab has a unique coat, Harker says. "His face he has spots of a darker yellow (champagne), he also has spots of the same color going down his sides and legs."

The dog has been micro-chipped, and is registered to Harker. Anyone with information is asked to contact Harker through his listing, or email: