WALKER COUNTY, Ala. (WIAT) — Army veteran Wayne Matthews, has been reunited with his service dog, Ranger, after he had been missing for three days.
“I guess [I was doing] everything short of crying,” Matthews told CBS 42. “I was almost so excited that I didn’t even really know how to contain myself.”
Matthews had gotten hundreds of phone calls since the dog vanished on Sunday afternoon, but they had all been dead ends until Wednesday. A man had seen two German Shepherds–a male and female–on the side of Blooming Grove Road when he was on his way to work. He told CBS42 that he had actually shared Matthews and Ranger’s story on Facebook the night before. He called Matthews and he hurried over.
“Where he was found, he would have had to swim across Smith Lake to get there,” Matthews said.
Matthews feels as though Ranger was likely stolen–but the person who had him saw all of the coverage and social media, and decided to leave Ranger on the side of the road.
“We knew it was something out of his [Ranger’s] control. If he could control it all, he would have been home,” he said.
When Matthews and Ranger were reunited, Matthews saw that his dog had been bitten by a snake on his snout. He was bleeding and had some swelling in his neck. Ranger will be spending the evening being monitored at the Animal Hospital in Jasper. Matthews expressed gratitude to everyone who shared posts and helped find Ranger.
“They increased our reward if he was found, we’ve had people offering to pay the vet bill,” he said. “The Velcro Pygmies are paying for the vet bill today. I mean literally thousands of shares on social media.”