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16.51 17 Jun 2014


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A Colorado family took in a soldier’s missing dog and is refusing to give the Shiba Inu back because they say their kids are too "attached".

The dog's owner, Robert “Robby” Gabbert, was deployed to Afghanistan in March, and he left his 3-year-old Shiba Inu, named Baxter, with the wrong person. His girlfriend in Fort Carson was supposed to be pet-sitting Baxter, but she decided it was too much for her to handle. Instead of returning him to Robby's family, she sold him on Craigslist.

A social media effort to find Baxter revealed he was living with a military family and they are reluctant to give him up.

"They keep saying they have children that are attached," Robby's mother, Karen Fraley, told KOAA. "Well my child is attached to the dog. Just because he's older doesn't mean he's not my child."

Robby has owned and taken care of Baxter since the dog was just a puppy.

Moved by the story, supporters set up a Facebook page called “Help Bring Baxter Home” and his supporters say there is no reason Baxter's new family will not do the right thing.

"Now that they know about it, they can do the right thing," says supporter Nancy Wallace. "They can teach their children, 'Yeah this is very difficult, but we do the right thing.'"

Organizers of the Facebook page say they never met Robby and they have no ill will towards the family who took Baxter in.

“No one wants to give them any negative publicity,” Wallace explains. “We just really want Baxter back home with Robby.”

The family has been offered $14,000 to return the dog, and the Colorado Shiba Inu rescue has offered to help the family find a new pet.

Robby has at least six months left in his deployment.

Wallace says Robby should be able to do his job in Afghanistan without worrying about his dog.

"We don't want to get the girl in trouble or anything,” says Robby’s father, Bob Gabbert. "We just want to get Baxter back. His is part of the family and we just love that little dog. He means so much to my son.”

Facebook organizers say they have found an attorney that can help the family stay anonymous and return the dog to Robby.


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