HUDSON, Colo. (CBS4) – An Iraq War veteran suspects thieves may have stolen his service dog, and the family’s other pet, after the duo disappeared earlier this month.
Geoff Walters told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas his service dog, Lilly, and another dog, Sky, vanished from his backyard in small-town Hudson two weeks ago.
Walters said he served two tours in Iraq, and returned with PTSD and ankle injuries. He was united with Lilly, a St. Bernard and Pyrenees mix therapy dog. Lilly assists Walters with weight balance and PTSD concerns.
“(Lilly) is not just a pet, it is actually somebody that helps me keep myself in check,” Walters said.
Walters said his son let both Lilly and Sky out in the morning on Sept. 16. He recalled seeing the duo outside at one point. However, after not hearing them outside, he checked the yard again.
“I hadn’t heard them bark,” Walters said. “(I) went out to check on them, and they were both gone.”
Walters said the dogs could not escape the yard without assistance. The gate is regularly locked with a carabiner.
While Walters and his wife, Cari, said it was possible their sons accidentally unlocked the gate, they believed the dogs would never wander far from the property.
“When I am not even around, (Lilly) starts to get depressed because we have been together so much,” Geoff Walters said. “No one in Hudson has seen them. For no one to see anything, that is what is surprising.”
Cari said she noticed a slight change in her husband’s behavior, since Lilly disappeared.
“His anxiety (was) almost nonexistent, until she went missing,” she said.
The family said Lilly is chipped. However, they have contacted local animal shelters, and veterinarians, regularly without luck.
While the family would love to have both dogs back, Cari said Lilly’s return was important. Though Geoff said he would settle with simply knowing both dogs are okay and being taken care of, Cari said Lilly’s return would drastically help her husband.
“Inside, I know that it would kill him. It would crush him if she never came back to us,” she said.
The family asked anyone with information on the dogs’ whereabouts to contact them at (303) 918-5678.
LINK: Walters Family Video
Dillon Thomas is a reporter at CBS4 and a Colorado native. He believes everyone has a story, and would love to share yours! You can find more of his stories by following him on Twitter, @DillonMThomas.