Never separate a man and his best friend. Especially if his best friend has an adorable face like that one!
The soldier in the above photo is Robert Gabbert, who was deployed to Afghanistan in March. Before he left, he put Baxter, his three-year-old Shiba Inu, in the care of his then girlfriend.
Well, between Robert's deployment and now, that girlfriend—sorry, ex-girlfriend, decided to sell his dog on Craigslist. When he found out about Baxter getting a new home, Robert posted a desperate message on Craigslist (that has since been deleted) begging for help:
"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 Baxster 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 story quickly went viral and the Internet rallied behind the soldier, and we all know the Internet folk love nothing more than reuniting people with their pets. A Facebook page was created and local news stations started investigating Baxter's whereabouts. Eventually the dog was found, but there was one problem: Baxter's new family, who only had him for a week, did not want to give him back.
"They keep saying they have children that are attached," Robby's mother told Colorado news station KOAA 5. "Well, my child is attached to the dog. Just because he's older doesn't mean he's not my child."
The family was offered $14,000 for Baxter's return and the Colorado Shiba Inu Rescue even agreed to help them find a new dog.
Thankfully, the family finally agreed to give Baxter back to Robert, who still has six months left in his deployment. On Monday, KOAA 5 posted this update to their Facebook:
"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."
It is not known what drove the girlfriend to sell her ex-boyfriend's dog while he was serving in Afghanistan, but Robert will be able to come home from deployment knowing that this best friend is safe and waiting for him.
Now all that's left is to wait for the inevitable, tear-jerking reunion video. You know we'll be posting that!