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Veteran’s car and service dog vanished. Alert locals (and a smell) came to the rescue

Watch this dog reunite with his family after being stolen while in the owner’s truck

This service dog was just reunited with his USMC Veteran Owner and family.
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This service dog was just reunited with his USMC Veteran Owner and family.

A veteran lost more than her ride when her family’s car was stolen in Indiana earlier this week — she also lost her service dog, which was inside the vehicle, according to police.

By Tuesday, Indianapolis police had tracked down the stolen car and returned it to Tim and Lana Withner. But Wrigley, the 2-year-old Rhodesian Ridgeback mix, was still nowhere to be found, police said.

“He’s trained to sense oncoming seizures and migraine headaches,” Lana Withner, a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, told FOX 59. “He’s my lifeline right now.”

That’s when police and the Withners looked to the public for clues, the Indianapolis Star reports.

“[S]omeone stole my car while I was filling up” at a gas station, Tim Withner wrote in a plea for help on Facebook Tuesday morning. “Wrigley our dog was in back. Vehicle has been located and Wrigley is missing. Please help this go viral.”

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And viral it went: The post has been shared more than 600,000 times on Facebook.

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department also posted photos of Wrigley on law enforcement social media accounts, asking community members to be on the lookout for the missing dog.

On Wednesday, all the publicity paid off. An alert community member spotted a dog that looked like Wrigley — and when officers and the Withners got to the scene, Wrigley ran up to them, police said.

Wrigley’s keen nose also played a role in the reunion. The Withners told WTHR that they laid out a shirt in the area where Wrigley had been spotted, and it attracted the dog.

“His nose is obviously amazing,” Lana Withner told the TV station. “He found the shirt and wasn’t going to give it up, so he’s pretty good at what he does and I needed him, I needed him, and I didn’t think I was going to get him back.”

The dog was ecstatic to be reunited with his owners, as video posted by the police department shows.

The family was driving through Indianapolis en route to Florida, Lana Withner told WTHR.

“We were just trying to get down to Florida to start our dream that we had been planning for years and this happened,” Tim Withner told the TV station.

They were moving to the South from Illinois — and now that they have Wrigley again, they’re back on their way.

Army and National Guard veteran Richard Parker of Pascagoula introduces his dogs, one a certified service animal and the other one ‘in training.’ Both help the veteran cope with the PTSD three combat tours have left him with.

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