A veteran and her family were the victims of a car theft while filling up their gas tank at an Indiana truck stop.
The stolen car was secondary to the family’s main concern. Marine Corps veteran Lana Withner’s service dog was also inside the stolen vehicle.
Wrigley, a 2-year-old Rhodesian ridgeback mix is trained to sense oncoming seizures and migraines, Withner told FOX 59.
While the vehicle was eventually found a few days later by Indianapolis police, Wrigley was still missing.
“He’s my lifeline right now,” Withner stated to FOX 59.
Following the return of the family vehicle, Lana’s husband, Tim, decided to take to Facebook in effort to locate Wrigley.
“[S]omeone stole my car while I was filling up at a gas station. Wrigley our dog was in back. Vehicle has been located and Wrigley is missing. Please help this go viral,” Tim Withner wrote on his Facebook page.
The viral post was shared over 600,000 times. The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department also posted photos of the missing dog across law enforcement social media accounts to aid in the effort.
The social media awareness paid off.
A community member was able to tip off local authorities a location of a dog that appeared to fit the description of Wrigley. Officers and the Withners went to the location of the report. The Withners used a shirt to lay on the ground to attract the dog with a familiar scent, according to WTHR.
Wrigley ran up to them for the heartfelt reunion that was captured by officers on video and posted to the police department Twitter page on July 18.
Neil is a former US Army Captain and served operational deployments in South Korea and Afghanistan. He is currently an Editorial Fellow at the Military Times.